May You Choose Your Mask Today

We all wear masks. We put on different personas for different occasions. They are not phony, just somewhat different versions of ourselves depending on what the situation calls for.

Some masks we put on willingly and purposefully. Some we wear without even knowing it. And some are forced upon us by oppressive outside forces.

I have worn all three types of masks in my life, and I’m sure you have too. That’s why I am writing the Masks book series: to express this universal truth and to encourage the idea that we can increase our awareness and choose the masks we wear.

True, these books are full of dark poetry and lyrical lunacy painted with surreal horror and apocalyptic visions of a dystopian future. They are written through the voices of fictional characters that are part of my greater mythos.

Mask: Shadow is written through the voice of Dostah Shilailee, a misunderstood drifter who becomes the guinea pig for secret government experiments. Mask: Persona is a slice of history from the character Joe Doe, an escaped mental patient who speaks out for the unheard.

But these characters also reflect some of the masks we wear when we feel vulnerable or angry or just plain confused. By becoming aware of what influences us to feel these complex emotions, perhaps we can decide for ourselves which mask would be best for each situation.

May you choose your own mask today.

#goals Mid-Year Review

Being an ambitious artist means setting goals and often having a hard time meeting them. When 2018 began, I was inspired by my favorite podcast, The Mando Method, to publicly state my author/artist goals. They recently did a mid-year review and shared an honest look at where they are at with their goals for the year.

Now it’s my turn. Here are the 6 goals I set with follow-up comments on my progress:

  • Finish and release two books with soundtracks (the Masks trilogy). I am on schedule to make Mask: Persona available for pre-order on July 4. It is unlikely that I will get the third book + soundtrack, Mask: Self, finished this year, but I will be working on it.
  • Start a Patreon account with exclusive content (music & writing). Check. I release at least 6 new things every month on the JVB/Sykophunk Patreon page: poetry, songs, short stories, remixes, revisions, videos, and a serialized novella.
  • Finish my serialized novella, The Black Circle. On track. I have been dropping a new episode every month on Patreon. Part 7 is going up next month; I think it will end with part 9 in September.
  • Start my first novel and/or interactive fiction. I just started an interactive choose-your-own-adventure type story that I would love to have out by October. As for stating the novel, I’ll consider it a victory if I at least get the outline done this year.
  • Write more short stories and poetry for market. I have done this and submitted 10 pieces to poetry/fiction markets, with two rejections and two acceptances so far. There are a few more on my radar that I still want to submit to.
  • Keep working on building my platform. Slowly but surely. I am in the process of updating my website, making all my social media jive, and increasing my mailing list (recently hit 100+ subscribers!).

Wow. I am doing surprisingly well on most of my goals, especially considering the personal milestones I have also hit this year: graduating college, getting married, and starting a new day job. Thanks to Armand and Chuck for reminding me to check in. Good luck to you guys staying on track with your goals this year.

How are you doing on your 2018 goals?

Untimely Frost dark poetry anthology

Untimely Frost: Poetry Unthawed is now available on Amazon in paperback format! Ebook coming soon. This collection, published by Lycan Valley Press Publications, consists of beautiful and horrifying poems, including one of mine entitled “Funeral Flowers.” I am honored to be a part of a project consisting of so much talent.

Untimely Frost: Poetry Unthawed

“The beauty and sadness of words clutches at the heart like the cold hand of Death. Images of darkness close in on us as we feel the anguish of life’s final moments. The darkness is beautiful and yet terrifying, calling on the strongest emotions for survival. This collection of poetry combines words of beauty, of despair, of darkness, of mortality that reach out and chill the soul like an Untimely Frost.”

7 New Things, Gratitude, and Free Stuff

If you are reading this, you are awesome!

My mailing list just passed 100 subscribers! That may not sound like a lot to some people, but to me it is a measurable milestone that you helped me achieve :) To celebrate and show my appreciation, I will be putting together a new freebie sampler of my writing and music.

You don’t have to do anything to get the freebie other than be subscribed. You can subscribe to my list on my home page. I will send out the link when I am finished putting it together, hopefully in a week or so.

May has been crazy busy for me! In between graduating college, getting married, and starting a new day job, I somehow found the time to make seven new posts of exclusive content on my Patreon page:

"Cold World" - a post-apocalyptic fantasy short story, inspired by Wu Tang & the Rza.

"Chelsea Smile (Triple Threat Remix)" -  a song by Bring Me the Horizon, remixed by Travie McCoy, and  then re-remixed by me as Joe Doe. Clearly before he was institutionalized and his mind broke off from reality ;)

The Black Circle part 5 - in this episode of my serialized horror novella: investigations, dark revelations, and murder!

Acapellocalypse 5 "Isolation" - Joe Doe is chilling in the underground fallout shelter, starting to lose his shit from isolation in a world of crazy chaos...  he knows too much!

"assembly line" - a dark sci fi poem.

"Manufactured Misery" song & video - from the Patreon exclusive album, Nocternal. An emotional  & dystopian explanation for the eternal darkness of the future. The lyrics of this song are also featured as a poem in the book Mask: Shadow.

Upcoming projects also include the next book + soundtrack in the Masks series, Mask: Persona. Keep your third eye open and stay tuned to the rEvolution Underground…