I have dreams. Some good and pleasant; filled with fluffy clouds scudding in an azure sky, warm breezes, brilliant sunshine, picnic baskets, and sticky fingers. 
Some… not so good. In those dreams, the fingers are sticky, too; not with cotton candy, or caramel apples, but with blood. There is death, divorce, decay, mayhem, mischief, and maybe a glimmer of hope. Hope that I might wake up.
But what if I don’t? These are my Mean Dreams. They have teeth, biting with the carrion beaks of buzzards, fetid, foul, and smelling of the grave.  The air is redolent with their heavy scent.

They will linger long in your memory, too, these Mean Dreams.
Mean Dreams, an anthology of stories, coming by the end of 2015. 

 
Folks, my ebook, Casita 106 at the Red Pines, is on sale for $.99 for just one more day. Following are the opening paragraphs:

“On the highway just outside of Sedona, home of Arizona’s red rock country, is a retirement community, Shady Acres. Bisected by a road, the other half of the community was split off, and instead of retirees the property was used to attract vacationers as a timeshare. They called it the “Red Pines.” It was a way for the owner to keep a good revenue stream coming in year round. Too bad it was this side which sat upon an old indian burial ground–bulldozed in the name of progress, and profits. 

With stuccoed walls, and large windows, every unit accommodates four comfortably. Well, mostly. A single wide all gussied up is still a single wide no matter how fancy it is outside.

It’s the allure of the environment that draws people there. It’s close enough to town, but far enough away from the tourists clogging the area. It’s like camping in style: all the units have plumbing, hot and cold water, microwave, refrigerator, stove… All the comforts of home in the beautiful pines.

Or so Jack and Veronica Hartman thought on their way up from the Valley of the Sun. As timeshare owners, they had a membership in RCI (the preeminent exchange company in the business), which gave them access to thousands of properties outside their club. Having already used their points on a trip to Park City during ski season, they went looking for an extra vacation to get out of Phoenix’s mind melting heat.

Having waited so late in the year to book this trip, they had to take what was available: the Red Pines Lodge.

They hoped for a vacation to remember.”

Get your copy on Amazon:

Casita 106 at the Red Pines

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Greetings, you hoopy froods (Internet cookie if you get the reference)!

Just dropping you a quick line to let you know that my eBook, Casita 106 at the Red Pines is now on sale for just $.99. Don’t hide your kids, or your wife–tell them! (Well, maybe don’t tell your kids–it’s not exactly a bedtime story). Don’t wait, because the sale only lasts one week.

If you were on the fence, wondering if it is, you know, a good story, here’s what the reviewers on Amazon have to say (don’t take my word for it):

4 stars “Seriously spooky!Joseph Sewell

4 stars “This book will leave me with nightmares for weeks.Jamie Kocur

4 stars  “Much as I don’t like horror stories (the nightmare factor for me), I ‘enjoyed’ this.Michelle White

4 stars “Well written scary fun!” —Jim Woods

5 stars “Well-Written and Suspenseful.” —Ricky Anderson

4 stars “WHOA — Didn’t see that ending coming.” —Chris Morris

If you do the math on those reviews, it means the story rates an average of 4.2 out of a possible 5 stars! I’d say that’s pretty good.

What are you waiting for? Get your copy of Casita 106 at the Red Pines today. You’ll be glad you did.

My humblest thanks for your support,

Chad

Letter to My Dad

randomlychad  —  July 13, 2015 — 4 Comments
Dad?

Dad?

Like the cooler days of spring, Father’s Day, 2015, has come and gone. The dog days of summer, like a stubborn hound refusing a bath, have planted themselves hard upon the ground of my soul. To say the heat is oppressive is akin to labelling Mao a “little communist.” Particularly this time of year, with the monsoon season hanging pregnant in the sky, its waters about to break. It’s this time of year, with Father’s Day (and my birthday) just so recently past, that sadness overtakes my soul. I can’t help think of my dad; of what was, what is, and what will never be.

In the simplest terms–though I may have something of his face, the timbre of his voice, his light-skinned Irish complexion–I don’t know the man. Growing up, he was a poltergeist: a ghostly presence which only seemed to manifest in some kind of malevolence. When he was there, it was with a caustic word; when not, he was a cypher. I lost him to work, and to the bottle, long before he last darkened the doors of our home.

And then he was gone for good.

Only to re-emerge when, and if, it was convenient for him. Only to bring chaos into my re-ordered life. There was no balance when he was there, and there certainly was none he would either deign to visit, or when my brother and I would be made to visit him. Why? Why would we have to go, when he had so stridently declared his preference? Because when it came right down to it, he left, and moved away when his then-girlfriend was transferred out of state. Of all the things I still struggle with all these years later, it’s this; being cast asunder, left by the wayside, when something better came along.

Of the deepest soul wounds, the one which cuts the harshest is that of never being (feeling) loved by the one man who was supposed to love me. I, we–my brother, my mother–were always second choice; he came first. The distance, both emotional and physical, has colored (for good or ill) the way I view my Heavenly Father; as I view my dad, I see Him as a distant presence, uninvolved. Because I know it isn’t true, I daily fight this view.

Thing is, I don’t always know how to keep the dad out, and let the Father in. That’s a struggle, too. And if I’m feeling particularly honest, this one relationship gone around upon the rocky shoals of familial dysfunction has colored not just my relationship with Jesus, but also every other one as well; I don’t know how to let people in. Every time I’ve tried it’s ended in heartache and pain. Men’s groups have fallen in tatters around me when I’ve opened up to share my convictions. I see friends diving deep, doing life with others, and always feel like I’m left holding the bag–standing on the outside looking in.

The only thing I can conclude is that’s me; I’m hopelessly broken, doomed to merely skim through life. Not truly sharing in either the joys, or the sorrows, of the folks that always seem to mean more to me than I do to them.

Like my dad.

 

Photo Credit: “PAIN Knuckle Tattoo 11-23-09 — IMG_9893″, © 2009 Steven Depolo, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

 
There is nothing quite like pain to bring us up short. When it hurts just to breathe, how do we take that next breath? The body knows–even if the receptors in the brain are flaring up like an electrified pin cushion. We would term this bad pain. Certainly unwanted pain. 
You see, I’ve been on a journey to work my way up to a 300 lb bench press. With only a couple of months to go, I recently took a tumble, hurting my back. This is has hindered the forward momentum I had laboriously, by the sweat of my brow, built. Only fifty pounds away from my goal, I’ve had to stop. You see, when one is working out, there are good and satisfying pains of the workout (soreness), there are the pains one pushes through.

And as I alluded to above, there are the pains that quite literally take one’s breath away. We would (as I said above) call this bad pain. The thing is, pain just is. It’s a warning system to let us know when things aren’t right. In these cases, it’s a voice which must be heeded. Or else we risk adding injury to injury.

Author Jim Butcher says there’s one thing we often forget about pain; namely, that it’s for the living. The dead don’t feel it. That we feel pain means, quite bluntly, that we are still alive. Philip Yancey would remind us to look to the leper, whose deadened nerve endings deny the necessary warnings which pain brings…

I’m not going to lie: pain isn’t fun. And the season of recovery, where I must sacrifice some of the progress of made, is frustrating. But it is necessary.

There is something to be said for slowing down. I’ve been able to read more, watch some movies, rest.

Pain let me know that it was time for a reset.

What has pain taught you?