One In A Billion

Look at us.

We’re all trying to stand out and be noticed.

You, with your talents.  Me with mine.

Each of us on a journey to be heard.  Listened to.  To burn brightly after igniting a spark of interest.

We’re all striking the same matches:
I HAVE WORDS I NEED TO SHARE!

Waiting to be validated by a consuming public, who cannot quench their thirst against the raging flames of entertainment.

So we pound away at the keys, telling the stories our vivid imaginations create for us, and we write the articles our fierce opinions derive, and we share the inspiration our souls have encountered.

And then we wait to be noticed by the general public.

Days.  Weeks.  Months.  Years.

Others who have gone before us and somehow managed to be a hit, surely we can too?

Slowly, our motivation turns to ash.  The embers of longing to share, die.

We wonder why we put so much heart and soul into our work, for it to fall by the wayside.

So few acknowledge our existence, even after the hours we put into our work.  We wonder how people go viral, and what on earth they’re doing different than us.
Do they have different friends?
Do they have different connections?
Do they have different methods for gaining access to the millions of people we wish were our audience, too?

…..The answer is, we’re not all pursuing the same audience.

While each of us wish to be accepted for who we are, and what we bring to the literary world, we’re still different.

We have different pursuits.

We have different goals.

We have different messages we want to send.

We tell different stories.
Somewhere along the way, writers begin to join in a uniformity, the answer must be in writing the same way?
“You must write this way/you must write that way.”
“I don’t like to do this, you probably shouldn’t either.”
“Nobody writes like that anymore.”
“I wouldn’t read it, but I guess someone else might….”

Validating ourselves against others, instead of remaining true to ourselves.

The odds feel stacked against us when our words only reach a few people sprinkled throughout the world.

Don’t stop trying, despite the odds.

Yes.  You are one in a billion.

You don’t need a million followers, you simply need to be true to yourself.

Tell your story.  And then believe your story is worth being read, and pursue the audience you long for.

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Silent Shadows

It’s cold, and dark.  The shadows are long and I know the demon is waiting.

He’s stalked for years, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce.

Once, I sat in a restaurant at a table full of friends, surrounded by four off duty cops.  The safest place I ever could have been, and yet every willing man in the room stared with that horrifying desire.

The demon stood by the soda machine.  Tall, ominous, draped in shaggy layers of black.  He had no reason to hide from me, why should he?  He stood outside my bedroom window waiting.  Always waiting.

Unable to bear his presence any longer, I left the table full of friends, and the four police officers eating, to run away from him.  Them.  Their lusts loudly resounding in my head.

In that moment, I decided perhaps prostitution wasn’t what I wanted after all.  It had been a flattering idea which gave my abandoned flesh purpose. Serve, submit, succumb, and never have to remember the name.  There were too many names it hurt to remember already.  Ones that promised to care.  Ones that promised to help.  Ones that failed.

I was the problem.

Needy.  They said.  Emotional.  Too young.  Too much.  Too smart.  Dependent.  Depressed.  Trailer trash.  A product of loveless marriage.  A ghost of an existence that wished even God could love me.  What could I do?  Where would I go?  Who would ever love someone like me.

Nothing beats the terror of knowing a demon has decided your fate for you.  The sensation an ice cold chill.  Panic overtakes you as their intentions manifest in other human beings around you.

All one can do is run, hoping you run the right way.  Easy enough to leave a safe place and end up in the wrong place.

The spirit didn’t pursue.  My “friends” didn’t ask why I left.  Nobody would have believed if I’d told them anyway.  Not everyone sees what I see.  Not everyone knows what I know.  And the ones who don’t believe silence with condescension.

I know the spirit lingers, I feel it for the first time in a long time.  It’s a shadow stretching, reaching.  Calling.

Presenting: Dauntless

Dauntless full cover

Dauntless is a coming of age story set against a fantasy background.  When Kacey Alexander turns 18, she finds out that she is a Mage, one of a long line of magic practitioners.  When Kacey’s mother dies, she leaves all of her belongings to Kacey, including a journal that details her past as a monster hunter.  When the details of her mother’s past come back to haunt her, Kacey must learn to master her powers and put together an unlikely alliance of friends to stop an army that threatens to destroy her city.

What inspired it:  I was in the middle of a long writer’s block when I came up with the idea for Dauntless.  One day my roommate Brandon and I were watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I complained about how TV and movies never had characters like her anymore.  Characters who were strong, sure, but who also had the ability to be weak.  Characters that were well rounded and experienced the full range of human emotion.  My roommate challenged me to write a character like that and, after many incarnations, Dauntless was the result.

Dauntless is a book that lets us know that family means more than just who we’re related to.  The strong bonds that Kacey has with her friends make them just as much family than her blood relatives.  In fact, more so.  Further the struggles that Kacey faces in finding herself in an unknown world mirrors a lot of problems people face when trying to fit in.

Find it on Amazon!
https://www.amazon.com/Dauntless-Thomas-G-Atwood-Jr/dp/1612967256

author portrait

Thomas Atwood Jr was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His love of writing was kindled early when his father gave him a copy of The Legends of King Arthur as an Easter present. These presents continued every year and he would devour them all. Soon he was developing further adventures for the characters to go on. When his high school teachers encouraged him to pursue writing, he embarked on a journey that would result in Dauntless, his debut novel.

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Check out his other books also available on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Dauntless-Thomas-G-Atwood-Jr/dp/1612967256