Part Four


Part Four

IN the depths of adversity lies the potential for remarkable transformation. Imagine having everything you’ve built, cherished, and relied upon suddenly crumble before your eyes. It’s a devastating experience that shakes your core and tests your resilience. Yet, amid the wreckage, there exists a glimmer of hope—a chance to rise anew, like a phoenix emerging from its ashes. The journey of rebuilding after loss is not just about reclaiming what was lost; it’s a profound evolution of the self, a testament to human strength, and a story of resilience that inspires others to persevere in their own challenges.

When I finally decided to scrap what remained of the old website, it still sat dilapidated for quite some time—mainly I just wanted to remove the redirect, so once I did that, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Now that I scraped away the old layer of paint and sanded it down to the bare bones, how could I possibly not only restore but also renovate something I had built without the pain and guilt of starting from scratch and forgetting what existed before.

Maybe I could build it better? I mean, with my experience building websites with my other business, FORGE, I had found better tricks and tools over the years, including the very powerful website builder and WordPress plugin, Elementor, which offers a very robust selection of WYSIWYG widgets and templates. When I had the website running before, it was a huge amount of coding on my end behind the scenes, so the new tools I’ve learned have definitely made the restoration much easier, cleaner, and faster.

SINCE the last time the website and blog was up and running, I have been in Sales & Marketing, Branding, and the Promotional Products Industry professionally, giving me a better idea of brand standards and aesthetics, which aids me in creating a clean, user-friendly site that fits within the brand design-wise. I pulled inspiration from the logo, which I considered also renovating now that I had also learned Adobe Photoshop and honed my graphic design skills; ultimately, I felt the crest was still a great icon and moniker for the brand, even if I do eventually tweak the font used for the name (for which I am still currently pondering options).

I have always preferred darker websites, which I’ve found make the colors and images pop more and the text easier to read. Perhaps it’s just me, but I opted for a darker website yet again as a hat-tip and continuance of the previous site (which was dark grays and browns with pops of orange), this time pulling the colors from the logo itself. In the branding world, chartreuse is trending right now, and really pops against the black of the website, so it seemed like the perfect choice.

ALTHOUGH selecting the palette was the easy part, now came the painstaking task of sorting through to get screen captures of the old site to reference as I rebuilt. I took note of the structure—where it worked and where it didn’t, where it flowed well and where it got a bit cumbersome. I jotted down the features I wanted to keep and the features that could be scrapped. By the time I finished perusing the archive, I had a better idea of how to rebuild better, more dynamic, and more user-friendly—I am hoping the new site reflects that, even as it’s being rebuilt. Of course, there was the desire of wanting to recreate some of the content—who knows, I still might add some of the great book reviews back in over time.

ONE of the things that I felt was the most cumbersome—something I originally thought to be one of the most dynamic features of the old website—was the menu, so I dissected and simplified the menu so that it is more user friendly on mobile viewing (something I honestly never worried about with the old site). Now, the main site has its own menu, with options that bring you to the main landing pages of the website: the about section, the blog section, the podcast section, the publishing section, and the services section— each of these sections has its own menu once you visit the landing page, making the menu (especially on the mobile side of things) simpler and more streamlined.

I hope y’all enjoy the new design and functionality of the website. If you have any suggestions to improve its design or content, I am open to all feedback.

Part Three


Part Three

IN the tapestry of human emotions, few threads are as intricate and delicate as the decision to part ways from a relationship that once held our heart captive. Just as a skilled artist might contemplate each brushstroke, so too must we contemplate the rhythm of our heartbeats when faced with the crossroads of moving on or holding on. This poignant juncture calls forth a symphony of emotions, each note resonating with the harmonious struggle of bidding adieu to the past and heralding the advent of a new beginning.

When I left my ex, I felt like I was closing a chapter, and I was scared what that meant… What if my next chapter wasn’t as good, as meaningful to my whole story as the one I was closing? What if I’d made a mistake? Despite how toxic our relationship had become, what if I was walking away from the person I was supposed to be with… what if I never found someone else who supported me with my writing aspirations?

All these questions ricocheted inside my head as my house faded from view and I drove to Atlanta to my friend’s house, who had graciously offered her guest bedroom temporarily until I found an affordable place of my own. About 15 minutes into the drive, my head quieted as the noise of the questions was replaced with the sound of the music blaring from my car radio—until about 10 minutes before I arrived at Jessie’s house.

With my doubt dissipating, my courage slowly made its appearance just as the lights of Atlanta made theirs into my sights, my thoughts shifted… What if this next chapter is the best of my life’s story—what if this moment changes my life so pivotally that I finally find the happiness and love that all of us deserve?

IT is in these moments of heart-wrenching contemplation that we realize the profound beauty inherent in the very essence of change. The decision to walk away from a relationship is an acknowledgement of the evolving chapters of our lives, and a testament to our resilience in the face of the unknown. It is akin to a protagonist of a novel bravely stepping away from the familiarity of their setting, daring to venture into uncharted territories. In this embrace of uncertainty, we cultivate a renewed sense of self, untethered from the confinements of yesterday’s narrative.

The allure of a new beginning lies not merely in its novelty, but in the tender possibility of growth it holds. Just as a budding flower breaks free from the constraints of its bud, so too do we unfurl our potential as we walk away from the shores of our past. The prospect of transformation becomes our muse, igniting the creative sparks within us. We reimagine our identity, envisioning the narrative arcs that might unfold in the blank pages of our lives.

In the realm of literature, countless tales have woven the intricate fabric of this decision. Characters from classic novels to contemporary stories have grappled with the weight of similar choices, each finding their own path towards new beginnings. Just as a character’s evolution captivates readers, so too does our journey as individuals fascinate those around us. Our stories are chapters of a narrative that constantly evolves, drawing connections between our past and the fertile ground of possibility that stretches before us.

THE difficult road definitely led to a beautiful destination—one of introspection and self discovery, where self-doubt has been replaced by confidence and courage to tackle anything without the same fear I was burdened with in my last chapter. Looking back, it was actually this blog and the path it led me down that kindled that courage to leave in the first place. I think the accomplishment of compiling, editing, and publishing Twice Upon A Time, seeing it in print, and holding it in my hand was like holding a missing key to a door I had to—despite the fear and the pain that it stirred—unlock and open… and eventually close behind me.

This next chapter for me, so far, has been somewhat of a fairytale, if I am being honest. I found not only someone who supports and loves me, but someone who communicates with the honesty and compassion that’s needed for a successful, happy, and lasting relationship. We share similar goals and dreams and actually built a music event production company together from the ground up.

On Leap Day 2020, Emerich and I took our own leap and married each other at the Punta Borinquen lighthouse in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, high on a cliff overlooking its western shores, surrounded by family and friends—literally a week and a half before the COVID lockdown, which only made our bond stronger, our relationship healthier, and our dreams for our future even bigger—and in 2022, after both of us had spent nearly two decades in Atlanta, we packed up our belongings and relocated to Tampa, Florida.

Part Two


Part Two

THE amazing thing about new beginnings is that, like endings, they sometimes happen when you least expect them or even when you’re opposed to them happening at all.

In 2016, a few months after ending things with my ex, I decided to move from the suburbs back to the city of Atlanta—I was thankful the car was mine and it took me far away from one sunset and toward my life’s next sunrise.

Other than for work, I never truly got to experience the city before because I worked in the nightlife scene of Atlanta (since nearly day one of living there)—and I definitely hadn’t as a single man, so the move back to the city was a lot to adjust to all at once.

I was able to connect with acquaintances I had known for years, who soon became good friends now that I was actually able to cultivate the friendships. As opposed as I was to any sort of romantic relationship, I eventually (but reluctantly) accepted some offers for dates, and some of them became a bit more than friends.

After leaving a 14-year relationship, the last thing I wanted was to even enter the semblance of one, so I became, admittedly, a bit of a player, dating upwards of 6-7 guys at one time—no doubt as a way to protect myself from getting too attached. As much as I tried to protect myself, however, there were a few who made me drop my guard enough to let them in beyond what I wanted to, one more than the rest.

LET’S back up just a little bit, though… When I first moved from Michigan to Atlanta, Emerich (pictured with me) became one of my bar customers and was one of the first people I met in my new city. As with all of my bar patrons, though, I wasn’t allowed to develop any sort of meaningful friendships because of a jealous partner, so he and I were only acquaintances. We knew very little about each other… just enough to keep up the occasional conversation about our lives.

Shortly after our meeting, Emerich started dating Henrique (Kike), the man who would become his partner of 8 years and who also became an acquaintance and regular bar patron alongside Emerich; their relationship ended in 2012, shortly after I was let go from my job at the bar and around the same time I started my blog The Bearded Scribe. I found this out after taking another bartending gig later in 2012, where Emerich became one of my regular bar patrons once again.

Because my ex (at least not at first) didn’t work with me at the new gig, I was able to chat a bit more with my customers, get to know them a bit more without the constant worry of being accused of being unfaithful, and in that time I got to learn even more about Emerich and his life story—yet just a little bit more. Had you told me then that this man would (SPOILER ALERT) become more than just a friend, I would probably give a good chuckle—not because there wasn’t a connection, but because—even despite the abuse (or perhaps due to it)—I never saw a life outside of one with my ex.

EVEN despite feeling that connection in 2016 when Emerich and I first re-connected—so much so that I (more or less) ran out of the bar shortly after our interaction—I wasn’t ready for it. He’d stopped me by grabbing my arm as I was passing by, on my way to look for my friends. Now, I have always been an empath, intuitive, and sensitive to energy, and when his hand touched my arm, I literally felt a surge of energy hit me, and I was bombarded with flashes of memories of a life with him I hadn’t yet lived… and now you know why, once our conversation ended and I told him that I still had to find my friends (who had already left, as it turns out), I literally left out the back exit and went home.

As luck—or fate—would have it, when I moved back to the city, my apartment was literally down the street from his. I only knew this because of his proximity to me on one of the gay dating apps. Even though I would see his face pop up in the grid, I purposely withheld from connecting with him on the app; my scars and my heart still needed to heal, and I wasn’t ready for the visions I had experienced that night in the bar.

One fateful night, however, about a month after that first one in the bar, Emerich found me on that aforementioned dating app. He didn’t know it was me when he messaged—my photo was selectively cropped to prevent my ex (or his friends) from harassing me—but I knew exactly who he was and used it to be a bit playful, using his name (with the correct spelling from years of looking at it on his credit card at the bar!), which freaked him out a little bit. When I revealed my identity, he said that I had made his night. I swallowed my fear and we made plans for a date later that week.

Part One


Part One

IT’S hard to believe it’s been almost 8 years since I was forced to put The Bearded Scribe Press on a very unwanted—but inevitable—hiatus. With the blog and the publishing company, I had finally found my creative outlet, and then all at once, I was forced to give it up.

Without getting too detailed on the reasons, I was also forced to make another hard decision as well: to walk away from a 14-year relationship—a toxic one, sadly, with a level of perniciousness I kept hidden from the world, perhaps in hopes (or maybe denial) that it would one day change. As much as we tried to make it work, however, at the end of the day, we were not bringing each other the happiness we both deserved, the happiness everyone deserves.

Although we could no longer make it work as a couple—or, unfortunately, even as friends—I will forever be grateful for the support my ex gave me in my writing endeavors. I think, other than it logistically not being able to fit it in my schedule anymore, this is the reason I found it hard to focus on writing after the break because writing reminded me of my ex (and my failed relationship).

Coincidentally, and funnily enough—well, truly not as funny as it was frustrating—someone hacked into the website (about 3 months after the breakup) and created an automatic redirect to a porn site, as if the universe was trying to nail home even more the fact that I should put my writing on hold. Even though I still technically owned the domain name, I could not log into the website or do anything to fix the issue. After a month or so of trying with GoDaddy to correct the issue, I gave up, and the site sat dormant for about a year and a half after. Every now and again, for a few years, I tried to log in and make a backup of the data, but I had no luck saving the data without also saving the redirect. Even GoDaddy had no luck and told me my best bet was to wipe the site completely and do a fresh re-install of the theme and plugins—this, however, meant losing all the pages and blog posts I spent years creating with my team.

I held off in doing so, not wanting to let go of the hard work and proof, much like I held off on making that hard decision to finally leave a relationship I put so much hard work into, trying to make it work, and that takes us directly to the lesson I learned in the process.

Sometimes the work required to repair something that is broken isn’t worth it. Sometimes it’s about trusting in your gut, in God, that the new beginning that awaits you was the reason it all had to end in the first place. While the new beginning of The Bearded Scribe Press is still a little bit in the future, I’m excited for the adventure.

Until then, I’ll share my own personal new beginnings that have happened since the forced hiatus in 2016, so stay tuned for my updates.

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

In the realm of speculative fiction, where imagination knows no bounds, there exists a powerful symbol of renewal and transformation: the phoenix. Much like this mythical bird, we often find ourselves navigating through cycles of creation, destruction, and rebirth, both in our stories and in our own lives.

As we relaunch our speculative fiction writing and publishing blog, we are reminded of the phoenix’s enduring symbolism. Just as the phoenix rises from its own ashes, so too do we rise from past endeavors, ready to embark on a new journey filled with creativity, inspiration, and endless possibilities.

In the world of storytelling, new beginnings offer a canvas for infinite exploration. It’s a chance to delve into uncharted territories, to weave narratives that defy expectations and ignite the imagination. Whether it’s crafting tales of distant galaxies, magical realms, or dystopian futures, each new story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of imagination to transcend boundaries.

But new beginnings aren’t just confined to the realms of fiction. They also hold profound significance in our personal and professional lives. They mark the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, inviting us to reflect on our past experiences, learn from our mistakes, and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.

As we embark on this new chapter of our speculative fiction journey, we invite you to join us in celebrating the magic of new beginnings. Let us harness the spirit of the phoenix, rising from the ashes of the old to soar to new heights of creativity and storytelling excellence.

Follow this post for the series of posts linked to it as I re-cap what’s been happening in my life for the past few years as The Bearded Scribe Press was on a break. Whether you’re a seasoned writer, an aspiring author, or simply a lover of speculative fiction, we welcome you back to our blog, relaunched & reimagined. Together, let’s explore the vast expanse of the imagination, where every ending is just the beginning of another extraordinary adventure.