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Art by Samantha (@samwitch11)

There was a bump in the night.

As far as bumps go, it wasn’t a very loud one. It’s hard for anything to be loud through the several inches of shaggy orange carpet which comprised my bedroom floor. I knew it was coming from the floor, however, because this was not the first time that the witching hour brought its own supply of noise.

Sweat beaded down my forehead as another bump caught the edge of the bed, making the press-board wobble dangerously. A monster was definitely on its way tonight. The thought of a demon using my tiny room…


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Cover art used with permission.

“Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?”

― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

When this book was first recommended to me, I admit I was a bit trepidatious. Epic-scale fantasies are very hit-or-miss, and up to that point I hadn’t heard of Zack Argyle. I was afraid that when the time came to sit down and review the book, I would be forced to write a scathing condemnation that would sadden both parties.

Gale take me but was I ever wrong about that.

Voice of War is a superb book. Contained within its pages is as fine a collection of magical world-building as any soul could hope to find…


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Cover art used with permission.

“A great man is always willing to be little.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

David Butler and Aaron Ritchey have created something that I hadn’t known I needed until it was in front of me; a good man.

Not a man without flaws or weaknesses. Not a hulking mountain of perfection upon whose chiseled jaw every problem smashes itself to pieces.

No, what The Cunning Man gives us is a truly humble hero in Hiram Woolley. A man who does the right thing precisely because it is the right thing. He doesn’t need a tragic backstory or a thousand pages of…


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Photo by Francisco Moreno on Unsplash

On March 2nd at 1:11 PM CST, I weighed 213.4 pounds.

On March 5th at 6:30 AM CST, I weighed 220.1 pounds.

On March 12th at 9:51 AM CST, I weighed 214.6 pounds.

Weight loss isn’t a straight path. You don’t wake up one morning, completely remake the entire fabric of your existence, and then jauntily strut down an obstacle-free road towards your ideal weight.

Weight loss is packing all of your fears and dreams and hopes and wishes into your stomach instead of junk food and barreling through the thorny brambles of reality towards a goal which may not…


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Photo by Tai’s Captures on Unsplash

The following story contains a parenting fail of galactic proportion. In order to understand exactly how thoroughly I bit the bleachers on this one, you must first understand something about me.

I love spicy foods.

Not in the way that normal people do. I don’t want an extra crank of pepper on my chicken. I don’t want a dash of sriracha on my pasta.

I want my face to feel like it’s melting off my skull. I want my food to protest in volcanic fashion to my attempts at eating it. Case in point: the last time I was in…


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Photo by eddie howell on Unsplash

Writing is the forge. You are the metal.

It sounds backwards but, despite the juxtaposition, it remains the truth.

Writing is unyielding; it doesn’t care how many times you’ve completed a post or a story. It scoffs at your accolades and accomplishments. It is unmoved by your professional and personal testimonials.

Writing is the blazing fire; the unconquerable inferno that bewitches the soul of every author.

In the shifting, amorphous flames we see all that might be if only we can withstand the conflagration.

What you need to do, what you must do, if you seek to endure writing’s searing…


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Photo by Murashkame on Unsplash

Today’s post is going to be about my mother. Normally that wouldn’t merit a disclaimer, but my mother died a rather horrible and slow death. She was finally released from her pain in December of 2018. Everyone who has been in my shoes knows the marathon of suffering endured by all parties both during and after. Asking you to walk into that blind is more than I am willing to tolerate.

So, be ye therefore warned.

I recently went through a rather chilling depressive episode. I was able to pull through, finally, but it took nearly three days and no…


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Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

This morning as I sat down to write this post, I did so armed with the lavish breakfast made possible when I’m not getting up at 5:30 AM to work.

It was a veritable feast; kidney and cannellini bean chili with beef, served over baby potatoes, topped with three well seasoned and perfectly cooked eggs-over-easy. The crowning glory to this succulent indulgence was a heaping handful of colby jack cheese.

It. Was. Delicious.

It was also extremely healthy compared to the meals I ate 365 days ago. In that bowl was more vegetables than I used consumed in the span…


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Cover of Vultures by Luke Tarzian. Used with permission.

“When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin

Life isn’t just a collection of everything bright and clear and colorful. There exists within all of us the deep truths of existence. These truths drive us to excel, to create beautiful distractions, to shout into the empty void of the cosmos that we exist and that we matter. In the end, the shadow cast by the flame of our lives is immutable;

One day those we love must die.

One day we must die.

There are those among us, however, who have stared into the black abyss within and refused to despair. …


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Photo by Graphic Node on Unsplash

Human beings have a remarkable ability to overcome traumatic events.

My wife is a fantastic exemplar of this power.

The birth of our son was not an easy one. Her labor was most of a day and due to various fumbling and bumbling, she didn’t get an epidural in time.

Yep. My wife spent the better part of twelve hours going through a difficult birth without pain killers.

She also doesn’t remember what happened.

Oh, she knows the general shape of things. The powerful joy of holding our son hasn’t left her, nor will it until her dying day. But…

The Unsheathed Quill

The Quill is the brain-child of Justin Wallace, an author, producer of podcasts, DM to an unruly crew, and nerd with a family of more other different nerds.

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