Fantasy Novel a Fantasy?

You may recall that I started writing a fantasy novel a long time ago. Well, I’m still writing. Apparently, these books take a lot of time. And Stephen King said any book should take three months or fewer to write. Psh. What a liar! Three months have come and gone, and I’m only halfway done with my novel.

King’s horrific deceit aside, I’ve been a bit distracted by Russia. Saint Petersburg is a wonderful city with so much to do and experience. I hope you’ll forgive me if I’ve explored more than I’ve written. I’ll make sure to tell you more about my experiences and opinions of this frosty Russian paradise.

Anyways, no need to worry. My fantasy is no fantasy. I’ve reached 315 pages. That’s already longer than any other novel I’ve written. And the world keeps expanding. Histories and legends grow with every word. Schemes boil under the guise of politics, gossip soaks into the castle walls, men lurk in the shadows, and the dead lie in wait.

I should finish by the end of summer. Don’t hold me to it, but that’s my goal.

On a slight side note, I want to self-publish my third novel, Mind Trip. I’m growing impatient to hear back from all the agents I’ve sent query letters to, assuming they will all have the decency to respond (not likely). Not to mention, my wallet is craving a bit of cash. Every college student knows the feeling I’m sure. Point is you should keep your eye out for another Amazon ebook coming your way. As always, I’ll set up a sale so you don’t have to pay much (or anything at all). I hope you’ll all support me.


The Hermit’s Zoo

Seated in a bottle,
Looking out. The world
Is the hermit’s zoo. Men
Flap jaws cut
From granite. Cheeks,
Steel razors red
Like blood. They raise
Their soft gaze, brow taut
Skin covered thinner
Than a sprawled spider
Web. God’s

Greatest creation, I
Watch, half
On them, the other
On me, perfect

In my mirrored
Likeness; nose
Zig and zag; teeth
A curve of white
Rubber bricks.
Oh, you should see
Me. You will,
I am sure,

Doubt my words.
You are my zoo. Now
I’ll be yours. God mad
Only me
In his image. If you think
Otherwise, the glass
Must play tricks,
And I am warped
As the light spins around
Its tapered neck. Don’t think
I am deformed
Like you.

I am alone in my beauty.

Culture Shock

To me, culture shock has always sounded like one of those concepts study abroad advisors and travel agents explain to you just to convince you they aren’t completely useless. Oh no, my destination is different than my home country. Of course it is. That’s why I’m going.

For the casual tourist or vacationer, culture shock isn’t a worry. Chances are you’re staying for only a week or two. You’ve planned to see all the sights, stay in the best hotels, and eat at the best restaurants. Basically, you’re tasting all the best the country has to offer. Who can blame you? Sounds like a great time.

However, for those who plan to stay abroad for longer periods of time, culture shock is real. It may come in different shapes and sizes, and some may be more prone to it than others. See, you’ve been away from home so long that you stop thinking, “What a wonderful and exciting place this is!” and start getting home sick.

You become antisocial and lazy. You’d rather spend all day in the safety of your room than venture out into that alien world once more. As you walk by people on the street, you grit your teeth and scorn them for simply being who they are because the terrible fact is they’re not who you are and they’ll never be like you. You want your home, your family, your friends, and your food. Personally, the last one really got me. Here in Russia, my host family encourages me to put ketchup on my pasta. Ketchup! That’s not a sauce. Crazy.

Just remember, culture shock is a phase, just like that honeymoon period you experienced earlier when everything was new and exciting. How long the phase lasts depends on how you handle it. You can sulk alone and let the culture shock fester inside you until a miracle snaps you out of it. Or you can get out there and adventure like you initially intended to. Your choice.