It was my birthday today! I’m now 38 years old. If I want to leave an impression on the world before I die, I have less than 50 years left to do it in. Assuming I get the chance to die of old age instead of being run over, blasted by a nuclear missile, stabbed to death, fallen victim to cancer, lost the fight to my own occasionally suicidal thoughts, or a meteorite impacts the earth and kills everyone.
A little dramatic and negative for my birthday perhaps, but it’s still a thought I have. I’m not going to mope about it, or wring my hands worrying about it. I’m going to get things done! I’ve already started adding weekly updates to my work-in-progress on ‘The Haunted Story’, and created a new Patreon page to help gain support for it.
For those that don’t know I wrote a short ghost story called ‘The Haunted Story’. S0 many people liked it I decided to expand on the premise. The short story was renamed ‘Dead Letter‘, the first story in the haunted series. The story I’m working on now is called ‘Investigation’ and you can read parts 1, 2 and 3 by following the links, or by going up to the tab labelled ‘The Haunted Story’ above.
The basic premise is that Mark Anderson has studied ghosts and decided to deliberately become one. He aims to increase the strength of his manifestation by binding his soul to the story of his traumatic death and subsequent ghostly apparition. Anyone that hears the story will become haunted by him. ‘Dead Letter‘ sets up this premise, having been written as if it was the note found with Mark Anderson’s grotesquely mutilated body.
‘Investigation’ follows Detective Janet Burrows. A homicide detective who has been assigned to the case and told to treat it as a murder case, despite the suicide note. Given the horrific nature of Mark Anderson’s death, it seems highly unlikely he did it to himself. Janet needs to find his killer, but the prime suspect seems terrified of something no-one else can see, and he kills himself shortly afterward. Then she begins to see things herself.
If you think this sounds right up your alley, please follow my progress and let me know what you like, and don’t like, about the story so far. If you can show your support by becoming a patron, you’ll get email notifications whenever there’s an update, and a signed free copy of the book when it’s published. If you can’t afford to do that, you can also buy the Kindle ebook version of The Haunted Story: Dead Letter on Amazon for just 99c. A review would also be greatly appreciated.
You can still check back every Saturday to see what I’ve added the night before, even if you’re not able to contribute financially to the project. Your feedback and encouragement would be very helpful and just a valuable to me as any monetary donations. You can also help me immensely by inviting others to this website to check out my work, and sharing ‘The Haunted Story’ with them.
Don’t worry, Mark Anderson’s ghost isn’t going to show up and scare you to death. You and those you share it with have nothing to fear. It’s just a story. 😉
My writing career isn’t the only thing I’m taking positive action on. I need to make some friends in this town. I love my family, but it’d be nice to get out of the house and play some games or just hang out with people on my wavelength.
I realised during a conversation online that I was unlikely to find fellow geeks in the local pubs. We’d be far more likely to be at home, online. Luckily, the town I’ve been living in since January has a Facebook group in which the townsfolk post public notices and ask each for favours and recommendations. So I made a post of my own, asking for help finding geeky new friends.
The response I got was amazing, and we soon had our own separate Facebook group with 40 members and a meeting scheduled in one of the local pubs I’d helped out as an odd-jobber! I’m looking forward to the first meeting, and getting to know some of the local geeks and gamers.
If you happen to be from Kidwelly in Wales, and a fan of Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of The Rings, the MCU, Rick and Morty, Supernatural, Doctor Who, video games, tabletop games and anything else even remotely geeky, feel free to join Games and Geekery of Kidwelly and come along to our first meeting on 7th May at the Masons Arms. It should be fun 🙂
I bought this game to bring
This card game was one of my presents
I also got these as a birthday gift.
My birthday was fun. I got to play the card game ‘Bears and Babies‘ with my nieces, and to spend time with my sister. For my next birthday though, I hope the have a reasonable circle of friends I can share it with, and possibly be able to afford to buy my friends and family awesome presents when all their birthdays roll around.
Thanks for reading. I appreciate your continued interest in my writing and my life.
I’ve mentioned something about the benefits of thinking negatively put I handed put a couple of important pieces together until this week. I hit a low, like you do, and was beginning to contemplate an exit strategy. There were a couple of people, and a couple of events, that helped me begin to climb out again.
Let’s start on a high note before I drag you into the sea of dispair I had been night-swimming in. Just a day or so ago, the UbiquiCity anthology was published! I still need to figure out how to get it to come up on my Author page, but if you search for ‘Antony Copeland’ (remember to leave out the ‘h’!) two results come up instead of just one!
For those that haven’t heard me mention UbiquiCity before, it’s a role-playing game sourcebook (that part isn’t out yet) and a collection of short stories, including one written by me! It’s based in the future and will probably be perfect for anyone who has played CyberPunk or ShadowRun and feel like the tech is out-dated. The consulting writers all help to create a society to play with that was utterly infused with computer-based intelligence. If you’re a proud RPG geek with a love of well-written fluff, buy it! 🙂
In addition to this great news, I also recently learned that the e-zine, Diversions from Drudgery, is still on track! So Hermes925 is still going to get published. I can put my concerns regarding continuity and plot holes to once side. It’s already going out as is, I’ll have to create a revised edition later if I still feel it’s necessary. Which means I can focus more on The Haunted Story project!
So that’s helping. Another thing that was a huge help was actually talking to some of my friends about my depression. One of whom had an amazing revelation about her own depression. She admitted publicly (on Facebook), that she is suicidal, but that it doesn’t mean that she’s going to kill herself, or at least not yet. It means that she’s acknowledging that she may, one day, kill herself if her life doesn’t get better. She’s using that as motivation to make her life better, or (quite literally) die trying.
The worst possible consequence of anything is death. Especially if you’re a chronic over-thinker like me (the downside of a good imagination I suppose). I don’t go out much because that stranger walking towards me could kill me. I especially tend to avoid bars and pubs because a drunken person is far more likely to turn aggressive. That’s why Facebook is so appealing to me. People may threaten to kill one another, but the risk of them actually doing so is minimal! Just in case though, I always try to be nice.
This actually connects to something else I’ve done that I’m not sure I want to talk about much. However, it came up, so out it comes! I’ve had a working theory for a while now that part of the reason I get depressed is because I always feel like I have to be nice. To get ahead in life, and to stay alive. Happy people have no reason to reason to kill you, especially if you’re the one that made them happy. I’ve had this theory since childhood. Make everyone happy = everyone is safe! It doesn’t matter that lots of my fellow schoolchildren didn’t respond well to my attempts to cheer them up, the concept was solidly integrated into my core programming.
I wanted to be good and make my parents happy, and the best way to make sure they would be happy all the time, would be to save the world. In hindsight it was a supremely arrogant, and condescending way to treat people. Anyway, having to be good all the time so that you can save-the-world/not-get-killed would sometimes get tiresome. Especially when people couldn’t see that you were just trying to help. It made me sad when I saw people doing something incorrectly (and even sadder when they argued).
I was absolutely convinced that I was better than them, and every time this concept was challenged I felt bullied and victimized. I know other people don’t think this way, because they didn’t understand. I got labelled a cry-baby, because whenever anyone challenged what I knew was true, I’d cry and an adult would come running to save me. In my mind this meant I was right. ‘See? The grown-up is on my side!’
Of course, this didn’t work so well once I was a teenager. When I was fifteen, one of my teachers suggested I keep a logbook of every time someone picks on me. I thought it was a great idea, until I discovered that the stuff I was getting upset about sounded so ridiculous on paper that I stopped writing stuff down. I felt like I could no longer justify crying to an adult over everything. I was forced to have to use my wits!
My wits weren’t as sharp as I had led myself to believe, and I was faced with the possibility that I may not be as smart as I thought. I’m still a little embarrassed by my final grades. The more frustrated I got, the more I found I wanted to say things that weren’t nice. However, it still had a strong self-identity as a good boy. No smoking, no swearing, and no intimacy with girls until you’re married. The idea of voices these ideas and questions made me very uncomfortable.
Then one day I snapped. It didn’t make much sense why I did. I’d failed to make an omelette in cooking class (the school called it ‘Food Technology’) I kept adding more eggs, sure that it would bind the sloppy mixture together. It was an embarrassing, and personally confusing, disaster. I realize now the reason why it upset me so much because it challenged my self-identity. I can make an omelette. I’d done it before. It wasn’t going according to plan, but it was okay because I knew how to fix it. Then the fix made it worse, and worse! It simply didn’t compute that it was happening.
Later that day, some else happened that wasn’t right. I was in the smart kid class for science (physics and biology were fun). It bothered me I wasn’t in the top tier for Maths too but that’s another story that also ended in me realizing my self-image was wrong. Good boys were supposed to be smart, be great at Science and Mathematics and go to university! Anyway, the Science teacher was off sick, so our class was to join one of the regular classes, and that teacher hadn’t arrived yet. The class contained several people that liked to pick on me. I lashed out with a fountain pen (fountain pens are better than other pens, therefore I had a fountain pen) at a (very stocky) girl that was curious about my odd-looking ‘rolling ruler’ an quickly left the room in search of an adult.
I told the first adult I could find that I didn’t know what happened. People were picking on me, then the next thing I knew I was leaving. To acknowledge that I know exactly what I did would contradict my self-identity. I had had been diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, so mu mum thought maybe it was an ‘absent’ seizure.
I should point out that I no longer think they were picking on me or bullying me. I think they were trying to figure me out. They found my answers entertaining because, to them, they were weird. I’m on fairly good terms with my weirdness, but I was never good with depression. Partly because (I think) I still have the ‘good boy’ persona dominant. How can a good boy have depression? That makes no sense! How can I be my father’s ‘Sunshine’ (his nickname) and simultaneously be able to acknowledge the anger and pain? Especially when so many have it much harder.
Telling myself that others are worse off is part of the same arrogant ‘I’m better than they are’ mindset that I’m trying to shed. Though shedding may not be the write idea. I know that bottling up doesn’t work. There have been some previous occasions when I’ve tried turning the feelings I represent as a secondary personality. The idea being that by allowing ‘him’ to express himself, I can prevent myself from having ‘outbursts’ (the one in Science class wasn’t the only time).
The ‘good boy’ and this alter-ego do seem to agree on a few things though. Including that multiple personalities, talking to yourself, etc. is nuts! I’d soon suppress it all again. I still find myself wanting to say things I can’t if I want to be seen as professional and have readers like me, so I push it down. So I’m trying the experiment again, and justifying the potential insanity by pointing out that I’m a writer. Writers have conversations with and as their characters all the time while writing their stories.
I’ve also read several times that the books that make the most money are romance and erotica. Both genres aren’t my thing. It doesn’t fit my dominant self-image to enjoy or write about love and sex, but If I write the stories as my rebellious alter-ego, I’m not compromising my online brand, an I give those thoughts I normally suppress an outlet that actually helps the cause!
Anyway. Long segue. It sort of ties back though because this permission I’ve given myself to explore ideas that don’t fit my personality allows me to learn things about myself that I have previously never allowed myself too, including being able to admit that, I too, am suicidal. I still believe though, based on looking at every angle I can think of, that it’s symptomatic, or at least the optimistic side does.
The pessimist likes to point out that this is biological disorder, but he also doesn’t trust that disorders are real. He thinks they’re either part of a deliberate conspiracy to undermine us and put ourselves in limited boxes so we don’t actually analyse ourselves to closely and figure out what we can do with our unique differences, or that people prefer being dumb, it takes less effort, so they slap a label on themselves and each other to they don’t have to think too hard.
Since I know these thoughts are upsetting, I tend not to agree with them in public. I still have the thoughts, I just can’t express them. However, that’s not really wanted to talk about. Admitting that feeling suicidal is, at least in my current situation, a fact, actually offers me a freedom I didn’t have before. If I might kill myself, the the worst that can happen is inevitable.
I may as well start taking risks as if I have a terminal disease. As if I could die tomorrow, at my own hand. Hiding from the world in my room is no longer a safe place. Suddenly my chances of survival in the outside world increases dramatically in comparison to the absolute certainty that, if I don’t make some changes in my life, I am going to kill myself.
I’ve believed the idea that ‘live for today, because you could die tomorrow’ for some time, but I’ve never put that additional piece ‘by your own hand’ before now. It makes the motivation far more immediate. A sudden heart-attack seems hard to imagine when compared to being hit by a bus, and of the two the heart-attack seems less painful, so my brain found a loop-hole and stayed indoors!
I can’t handle it anymore. I’ve got to make more contacts. Get myself out of the rat-race, or at least get myself a job that allows me to use my brain. Make more friends and hang out more with the ones I have. Perhaps even track down and meet up with some of the online ones! I think I may even be ready to risk a girlfriend! I miss having someone to cuddle and cry with, laugh and play with. The other guy has some ideas too that a good boy should never have.
It may hurt to open my heart again, but I’m hurting anyway. Maybe there’s even a chance that ‘the one’ is still out there, and not just a myth designed to keep us in line as ‘someone’ keeps telling me! It’s unlikely that anyone that reads this and the rest of my blog would be even remotely interested in dating me, but at least if they do, they’ll be somewhat forewarned!
If I start putting myself in situations that may make me happy, I may discover I don’t have to feel so sad. We’ll see if I’m brave enough, or if this new perspective will truly help.
If you can’t watch the video, this is basically what I talk about. I’m going to actually push myself to become a full time writer. Since I no longer work at The Brown Cow Inn, because I walked out, I now have plenty of time to treat my writing like my job and spend an 8 hour shift or so doing it. Either actually writing something, or looking for writing opportunities form full-time jobs to one-off gigs.
I suppose I could even include any social media marketing as part of that, so I suppose the video I made, plus this accompanying article both count toward my 40 of work this week :). As I mention in the video, most of today was spent, very pleasantly, in the company of my Grandparents. First I attended a superb christmas dinner at The Gables, on Abbey Rd in Barrow in Furness. It was delicious, I highly recommend it.
After that we went to Matalan. Grandad was going there for a new sport coat, so he recommended I take a look at the suits while I’m there. Laura’s having a masquerade ball theme for her birthday party, plus it’s always a good idea to own a suit. I found a nice looking black pinstripe 2-button suit jacket with matching pants and a vest totalling only £79.
I’m not, as yet, endorsed by either Matalan or The Gables, but I’d be more than happy to be if it meant I could keep writing and get paid for it. I also happen to mention Xbox One, Skyrim, Argos, Bosch and Sony in my video. If Microsoft, Bethesda, or the other companies I just mentioned would like to reward me in some way for mentioning them, I’d be very grateful to them.
Hopefully they see this without me having to send them emails and letter seeking their endorsement, but I realise I may have to do something this to solicit work or sponsorship from businesses. I’ve been determined to become a full-time writer before though, and I still haven’t accomplished it, or even tried terribly hard. I would like it very much if my readers, friends, and family would help keep me on task.
Pester me me for new articles on Games & Geekery, or new personal posts, or more of Jaime’s journal entries in Hermes925. Keep me motivated. I can be my own worst enemy sometimes. Despite knowing that, when I pick up a pen and start writing something almost always comes out, I still find myself unwilling to try if I don’t already know what it is I’m going to write.
I’m not going to do what I’ve done in the past and beg. It doesn’t ever work anyway. I intend to work for every penny I earn. If you want something writing, let me know. Even if it’s just a one-off speech or presentation, let me have a go at writing it for you and we’ll agree on what it’s worth.
I’m going to do some more work on Hermes925 tomorrow. Hold me to it.
Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be famous. Back then I thought I wanted to be a singer and be on Top of the Pops. That’s a British tv show where the chart-topping bands and musicians play to a live audience, or at the very least get their cool new music video aired. Here’s an example of a performance on Top of the Pops from 1984, when I would have been 4 years old.
I know now that music, though awesome, isn’t my calling. For one I haven’t continued to practice my vocal exercises and my voice isn’t even close to what it used to be, and secondly I just prefer writing. I’m not going to get well known stuck behind a desk all day though. There are hundreds of new authors all working diligently, writing everyday, using Blogs, Facebook and YouTube to try and build up an audience exactly like me.
I think I may have to go a little old school to stand out. Get out and meet people, talk about mutual hobbies and interests, tell them about Hermes925, or whichever book I’m working on at the time, and give them one of these!
I’ve ordered a bunch from Vistaprint and got them pretty cheap too! He’s a referral link if you’ve considered getting your own, so you can get an even better discount. I can’t really afford it, but I’m not going to get anywhere by playing it safe. There’s been a few times recently that I’ve been speaking to someone interesting. This should give me an easy way to pass on my contact info.
Speaking of Hermes925, the main character Jaime, has just been recruited for the Hermes project. You can catch up on the story by going to the Hermes925 tab at the top of the page, and read the latest entry by clicking this link. For those who’ve read the barfight scene I wrote awhile back, it won’t be long before it all ties together. Then after that it’s off to space!
I have some friends that are also trying to make a go of it with various endeavours. Jessica in Wisconsin is trying to improve her live and has begun a series of YouTube videos to track her progress and promote her cosmetology business. Give it a watch and help her get the word out.
I have another friend I was going to tell you about, but the link she gave me to her website doesn’t appear to be working, so Sarah will have to wait.
This is still my only source of income right now. If you like what you’re reading and you don’t want me to have to give it up and take a traditional job, please help me keep this dream going. Donate whatever you think is fair via www.paypal.me/AntonyMCopeland, and also help me get the word out by sharing your favourite articles with your friends!
The spare room I have been sleeping in is now lined with boxes, as are most of the rooms of the house. The moving company came today and packed almost everything, and they’ll be coming back tomorrow with the moving truck to take it all to the new Vicarage in Kidwelly.
It’s a strange idea to me, hiring a company to pack all your stuff for you and move it. I knew you could hire people to move your stuff, but to pack it for you too? I’ve always packed it myself. The process allows me to decide what to keep and what to discard. I haven’t even used a moving company, ever. I have always just rented a truck, relying on helpful friends to load it up. Then driven it myself to the new location, trusting in other friends to help me unload at my destination.
I thought it best that Dad and I be elsewhere while strangers invaded the house. Luckily he had some errands to run anyway, so I didn’t even have to try to convince him. We left before they got here. We got his church stuff done, which including him saying ‘goodbye’ to the oldest church in his parish. I teared up a little. Then we went to Kidwelly to drop off the printers and adjust the power cords on Tarragon’s vivarium.
Tarragon is my Dad’s bearded dragon (a lizard), that we had brought up to Kidwelly the day before. The timer that controls the uv lamp and heat lamp wouldn’t fit on the power strip, so we had to put everything on the timer. Today we brought additional extensions and splitters to be able to set it up properly.
When we got back the packers had already left, my duvet was in a box, and it finally looks like we’re moving. I’ve been saying that it’s my family that’s moving and I’m just helping, but really it feels like we all are. My family home is relocating. I actually really like it here in Wales, and I’m beginning to wonder if I should go live in Dalton at all.
To catch up those who haven’t read my other posts on the subject. The plan, after moving to the UK and spending some time with my immediate family, was to then travel north to Dalton-in-Furness. A small town just north of, and practically connected with, Barrow-in-Furness. I grew up in Barrow. I still have friends there, but it’s a grim town and I never want to live there again.
I really should go. My Grandparents are expecting me to move into the bungalow in Dalton. They’ve already modified the box room to be able to fit a bed and a desk in there. My friends are also expecting me. They all stayed in touch during my time in America. It would be unfair to all of them to change my plans now.
On the other hand, Wales in beautiful. The house in Kidwelly has a fantastic view of the town, including Kidwelly Castle. And, if I’m really being honest here, I don’t want to leave my parents and sister again. We were apart for 12 years while I lived in america. I’ve only been back about a month. The difference though is that now I can come back anytime. I could spend a few months with my Grandparents and see how I feel, then come back to Wales if choose to.
There’s also my Sister’s daughters. An adorably cute pair. One of the reasons I wanted to come back was to be their Uncle. I want to take an active role in their lives, or at the very least be available to them. I can’t ever be Dad myself so being a kick-ass Uncle will have to do. So I will go to Dalton to visit, catch up with my friends and family up there, and then decide whether I’m staying or coming back to Kidwelly.
In other news I’ve made a new Facebook friend! Geoffrey Porter is a writer too, and has a blog called Codename: Bear. So far my favourite stories are Potato Vengeance and Necropsy. They appeal to my own morbidity! However that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read, enjoy and follow his blog!
Not the City of Gate: Chronicles, but the Facebook group that started it all. I have done one article on this already, but it’s my blog and I can write what I want! 😛
For those that haven’t read the previous article on the subject, “The City of Gate” is a game. A turn based narrative role-playing game. An interactive story. As the storyteller, I post a new update every Sunday telling the players what happens next. Then each player has until the following Saturday to tell me how their character reacts. Currently we have one group member playing a dragon, flying above the ruins of the city. There’s some humans in the city trying to help two different factions rebuild. A couple of vampire characters are trying to avoid the city. 3 other players are walking around far to the North. There are even a couple of players far beneath the city.
The story is often led by the decisions made by player controlled characters. Sometimes it can get quite difficult to remember what is supposed to happening in the story I already set in motion as the potential heroes all go off on their own little agendas. For example, I wrote a backstory for one of the non-player characters called Myche (pronounced Mike, but with a softer ‘k’). His story is still unfolding as the game continues, despite the fact that he’s now a vampire due to the actions of the players. Every so often I write in little clues that refer back to earlier parts of the story, and bring in a relevant non-player character.
I do this mostly for myself. I doubt the players consciously notice the layers and details I add, but I’d like to think that it still feels like the story has depth and complexity. Whether the players spot these easter eggs or not. H’vannah is one of my favourite non-player characters in the game. By now I’m sure most of the players know that H’vannah is, or was, a man rather than just a place. I’m not sure they really know who or what he was, or what he’s doing behind that fortified gate. So far no player character has passed through the gate and returned to tell about it.
The players themselves are from all over. Some are based in the UK, some in the States, and we may have a few members from more exotic locations. The game actually has a lot more members that are just there to read the posts and comments than active players. You’re more than welcome to join, either as a passive member or an active player. You don’t have to have any experience with role-playing games. In fact, if you’re a veteran of D&D or Pathfinder, you may find yourself so concerned with stats and dice rolls that you’ll get confused by a narrative driven game. There are no stats. There are no dice. We don’t even really worry too much about alignment. We’re just telling a story and having fun making it up (more or less) as we go.
The City of Gate: Chronicles started out as a collection of short background stories for the non-player characters posted on the Facebook group under ‘files‘. They’re still there. My hope is to pad out these fluff pieces with rewritten parts of the game, and a little bit of original writing, to tie it all together in one cohesive narrative. Eventually. For now though I’d rather focus on the current timeframe. The one we’re currently playing in. Maybe I’ll come back to the Chronicles once I have Hermes925 finished.
If you’d like to join the City of Gate group, you can follow this link. If you prefer you can post a comment here with a link to your Facebook page, then I’ll send you an invite to the group, and our out-of-character chat in Facebook messenger. The messenger chat itself is a lot of fun and allows the players to get to know each other and talk about whatever they want, as well as discussing the game itself.
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to be involved in the story, you can just read the posts and enjoy them. However, it’s a lot of fun to play. You can be anything you want. A fairy, a witch, a time-travelling cyborg, a half-troll-half-mermaid, anything! Hope to see you there.
In the meantime, click every link in this blog to find some treasures! Articles written by me and some of my favourite bloggers. Follow any that you don’t already! Happy reading and have a great day.