Monday, August 29, 2016

Help Us Support the Imaginarium Mission to Empower Writers


As Imaginarium Convention approaches its 3rd annual installment, I look back and see that we've made a lot of strides toward our goal of developing a creative writing convention that has a welcoming atmosphere for all genres and levels of writers, and also provides the highest quality of content in a manner that is accessible to writers who cannot afford to attend writing conferences that often charge fees as high as $200-500, and often much more for registration.

Over the three day convention we feature well more than 100 panels and a large number of workshops that cover a full range of topics concerning the craft of writing, various genres, screenplays, publishing, editing, and even game development and creating comics/graphic novels.  There are no additional fees charged, and the $65 registration gives an attendee access to everything, including all other areas of the convention like the film festival, gaming, all entertainment events, and more.

And for our attendees that decide to exhibit in our expo, we give them the best chance for making sales by having the expo portion of Imaginarium open to the general public for free.

Imaginarium is developing in the way we envisioned it.  You don't have to take my word for it, just read through a slew of testimonials we have received:

http://www.entertheimaginarium.com/testimonials-about-imaginarium/

As anyone who has run one can tell you, even a one day event involves a lot of challenges.  There are loads of costs involved with a convention, and meeting those costs while striving to keep access as inexpensive as possible creates a fine line in terms of making everything work.  All sorts of hotel-related costs, rentals, entertainment expenses, promotion expenses, convention materials, signage, and many other things

One area that many who love Imaginarium might not yet be aware of are our Patron and Friend level sponsorships which are low enough in price that individuals can easily participate.  They both offer logo display on the site for those who have companies or a service to offer.  This can be an event, or a product image like a book cover, the choice is left to the Patron or Friend of Imaginarium.

The Patron sponsorship is $150 and the Friend of Imaginarium sponsorship is $50.  Both are described in full on our sponsorship page, underneath the Platinum/Gold/Silver levels.  If you like what you see and want to help support the Imaginairum vision, you can come aboard right away:

http://www.entertheimaginarium.com/sponsorships/

Help us take Imaginarium to new heights and open more doors for all kinds of writers, of all genres. From novelists, to short story writers, to poets, screenwriters, game developers, comic creators and more, we are committed to hosting an event that empowers, educates, networks, and is also quite a lot of fun too!


Monday, August 22, 2016

New Column Went Live Today at The Seventh Star With a Motivational Post

It's been a very busy time, with so much going on with the Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot, Imaginarium, Seventh Star Press and my writing world.  One of the new developments I have been excited about concerns The Seventh Star, the new and improved blog of Seventh Star Press that features regular columns, featured guests, and more in addition to carrying Seventh Star Press news and announcements.



I am one of the participating columnists for The Seventh Star and my column is titled "Creative Musings", to keep the vibes consistent between there and this blog.  My first post went live today, "The Only Path for Creatives is to Keep Moving Forward."

While directed at creative types like writers, filmmakers and musicians, the post and what it is getting at can be applied to anyone.  I give some thoughts on one of my main themes, the idea of needing to "Keep Moving Forward" in life, and apply it to the arts world.

I really like how this post came out and hope that it helps some folks out there who might be struggling along the road in pursuit of their dreams and ambitions.

You can check it out at:

http://www.theseventhstarblog.com/?p=229


Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Few Words About BREXIT... and a Congrats to the UK


It's no secret that I always support a path of self-determination.  People should always have the right to pursue their dreams and life as freely as possible.  The role of government should only focus on issues where force or fraud are involved.

To that end, I applaud the people of the UK for having the courage to step away from the EU.  The people of the UK should determine what is best for them, not some technocrat or beaurocrat in Brussels.  It amazes me how many people are willing to allow control to slip from their own hands and into those of individuals who sit at tables where only those with great economic clout have a place.

Of course, those who voted for BREXIT are going to be called all kinds of names, find themselves belittled by arrogant celebrities (Yes, J.K. Rowling, I'm referring to those like you), and be blamed for ANYTHING that goes amiss.

Sure, there is going to be a swoon as there are powerful international money interests that are not pleased by the decision who are going to seek to "punish" the "little people" who had the temerity not to play along with the path toward a centralization of power.  There will be a little struggle, but freedom is always worth the cost over a life dictated by beaurocrats backed by force.

To those who chose a path of increased self-determination, I encourage you to stay strong and weather the storm.  Don't give in to fear and never abandon a path of having sovereignty over your own lives.

Well done, UK.  I salute you.


Monday, March 28, 2016

I Invite You to Become Part of Something Truly Positive in the Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot Project

At the moment we are a little more than two weeks away from the goal line.  We've made progress, with 79 backers on the Kickstarter campaign totaling $6,390 in pledges.  We have posted 31 updates to the campaign, and 4 full videos.  Our Thunderclap coming up on April 7th now has 137 participants, with a reach of 260,000 people among that group.

All of it is certainly positive, but we need additional help to reach the goal.

The questions are straightforward.

If we reach the goal, our task is to deliver a TV pilot.  Will we do that?

Yes, absolutely.

Will this project benefit the Eastern Kentucky region where most of it would be produced.

Yes, absolutely.

Will this project provide numerous opportunities for a variety of talented individual?

Yes, absolutely.

Will this project be something that those involved in it, whether backing it or working on it, an be proud of?

Yes, absolutely.

I won't make this post long, as the Kickstarter site now has posts addressing all aspects of the campaign and showcasing a variety of individuals representing the kind of folks that we would build a production group with.  There are also a slew of awesome custom memorabilia items available only through this campaign, on various reward levels for pledging.

Maybe I should also mention that my deep dedication to this project and character means that I will go to every end to see that this TV Pilot is delivered at the highest level possible.

We just need a little help.  Please consider coming over to the Kickstarter project page and clicking on the "Back this Project" link on the right side, and make a pledge to help us get closer to the goal.

If you back us, we will deliver.  Thank you for reading.





Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday Drive for 5 in Our Effort to Bring a Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot to the Screen!


Today we are doing a special drive to seek some $5 pledges in our campaign to bring to live a Rayden Valkyrie TV pilot. Some folks might not think a $5 pledge matters, but growing our backer family in a Kickstarter campaign makes an impact and helps more than you might know.

We're making headway for sure, but it's not an easy road to bring this Kickstarter Campaign to the goal line. And in a Kickstarter campaign you don't get the funding unless you reach the goal. It's all or nothing, which is a good thing as it ensures that the project is genuinely funded before it is confirmed.

Five dollars, in other areas, might mean a pack of smokes, a couple gallons of gas, 2 bags of chips, a couple gallons of milk, maybe a matinee movie, which are all gone quick, but the $5 pledged in our campaign will set in motion a tv pilot that we intend to grow into a full blown television series, something to entertain you for a long time to come and employing people and creating opportunities for a long time to come.

That's all we are asking on our Sunday Drive for 5. One day to encourage some folks to come aboard our backer family and just make a $5 pledge. Don't forget, a $5 pledge also gets you an eBook copy of Heart of a Lion, the first novel that Rayden Valkyrie starred in, and it also gets you entered into the Imaginarium Convention contest that includes 2 hotel room nights, 2 weekend passes, and 2 award banquet tickets where the winner will be seated with our guest of honor and other major writer/filmmaker guests!

It only takes a few moments to make a pledge, so join us today on this Sunday Drive for 5! You can help us make this project happen!


To make a pledge, visit:



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

One Project To Open Doors, Realize Dreams, and Bring an Inspirational Character to the World


Time and time again, a strong woman of honor and conviction has been a light to me during dark times.  In fact, she first manifested to me during a very difficult time in my own life, and I know from very personal experience what she can be as a model and inspiration.

Now, I have a chance to bring her to a wide audience in a way that will unleash opportunities, realize dreams, and spread positive energy that will only grow in time.

Her name is Rayden Valkyrie and the project is the Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot Project.  Rayden is the character I most love to write, most deeply relate to, and who I have an unshakable passion to represent in the best way possible in every kind of media she is featured in.

This Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot project seeks to create a television pilot episode starring the Rayden Valkyrie character that will demonstrate the power, viability and potential of a full Rayden Valkyrie television series.  Needless to say, the show will offer the kind of visuals and elements that modern audiences have come to expect.  It will have action, monsters, the supernatural, beautiful scenery, the sensual, and much more that will appeal to fans of fantasy-driven television shows like Game of Thrones.

But there is something more to this project; something far from minor that makes this project a little extra special.

The Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot project holds the potential to be the genesis of a brand new television series to be produced here in my home state of Kentucky.  In every phase of producing an episodic television show, from concept art and storyboarding, to location scouting, to production management, to crew elements involving camera, light and sound, to support elements like transportation and catering, to special effects, post-production departments (including editors, sound mixing, scoring), to marketing and publicity, and so many more areas, a host of new opportunities will come to life.   This represents many instances in which individual dreams will be realized, as a number of talents from the region come together to create a top quality television show.

It will also introduce a character who can serve as a positive inspiration in an increasingly challenging and difficult world.  As those who have read the novel Heart of a Lion can attest, Rayden Valkyrie's inner strength and honor are every bit as compelling, if not more so, than her fearsome ability to wield a sword and ax in combat.  

She is a character who has endured great hardship, adversity and heartbreak, and knows what it is like to feel alone.  Nevertheless, she finds the strength to fight onward, to stand against all manner of evils and wrong doing, to defend those who cannot defend themselves, to stand with those who take up a righteous cause, and to stand alone when her heart holds the conviction that she is doing what is right.
Rayden lives her life with true honor, compassion and a passion for living, despite what the world has thrown at her.  She is real, with faults, moments of doubt and weakness, and longings.

I have no doubt that audiences will find many ways of connecting with her, and many areas in which they can draw inspiration from her.  In this way, I take the position that she can be a valuable contribution to entertainment realms that contain an abundance of vacuous and even negative influences.

In knowing what the Rayden Valkyrie character can represent to audiences and the numerous opportunities that will come to life for so many, I know in the core of my heart that this project deserves a chance to move forward.  To make that happen, we will need the involvement and support of a great many from the general public in the campaign now underway.

While this project will deliver a high quality television episode, it is still a demonstration of a concept, and as such there is no guaranteed series or home at a network just yet.  Without those elements, we cannot in good conscience seek support in traditional investor settings, with projected financial returns, schedules of financial return, and other elements contained in pitches to investors in projects like feature films.

While we have access to some channels of funding, we do need to attain a portion of our budgetary needs through crowdfunding.  To that end we have created a number of levels offering exclusive memorabilia, available only through the campaign (such as limited edition concept art prints, a book version of the screenplay for the pilot episode containing additional content, etc), credited positions (such as co-producer and even an executive producer credit), and event-oriented activities (ranging from activities surrounding the premiere of the episode to a special 2 day excursion with myself and members of the cast and crew to some unique Kentucky sites such as a bourbon distillery and historical site.

It is very important to state that every single contribution makes a difference.  We are not individuals with great personal means, nor do we have big studios backing us, nor are we seeking an unreasonably large budget figure.  We know what it will take to produce a top-quality show and we simply are seeking the resources to make that happen.  With a relatively smaller figure sought to round out our budget, every five, ten, or twenty dollars contributed makes a true difference.

This is a real instance where anyone has the opportunity to recognize potential, support it, and bring it into reality.  It is a chance to make a difference, and be a participant instead of a bystander, an actualizer instead of a spectator.

Get involved, make a difference, and help us make this wonderful project happen.  Join with Rayden Valkyrie and become a part of a project that has the heart of a lion.

To see the full campaign on Kickstarter and make a pledge, please visit: 








Monday, February 15, 2016

More Progress in Training, Kettlebells, Krav Maga, and More!

Training has been progressing very well, and I figured I'd give a few updates on that side of things as well as share the latest ad image that NuHealth is using to promote their ReCharge line of products.

I am always evolving my core workout, from tweaking to making new additions.  Without question, the core workout is at it's best point yet and I think it features a nice balance of flexibility, cardio, endurance, and strength/power training.

The bulk of it is Krav Maga, with loads of drills in combatives, heavy bag work, working with a training dummy, Retzev segments and working in new techniques.  At this point the core workout features a very good range of drills and techniques, and I believe strongly in the drill, drill, drill approach when it comes to techniques.  This can make for a very solid pace and level of intensity as the workout flows through the combatives and techniques.

I always have a good warm-up segment and flexibility work prior to getting into that phase of the workout.  I've recently added a few more movements and types of stretches in this part of it and I've come to appreciate just how important and vital the warmup/flexibility part of the workout is to everything from injury prevention, to recovery, to progress in training and to getting me prepped for the more intense parts of the workout. Warming up properly and giving time and attention to stretching matters.

I also work in a nice dose of body weight exercises, with a few types of pushups and several types of pullups, mixing those in with some of the combative segments.  I recently added another type of pullup, bringing my total there to 5 different types/grips of pullups making for a pretty good range of coverage on that type of exercise.

The other part of the core workout that I began integrating in December of 2015 were kettlebell exercises.  I have carefully built onto that since beginning with some basic movements, and just this week added the kettlebell version of the viking push press and single arm swings (I've been doing the two-arm swings since December).  I've found the kettlebell training to have an art of its own, and it is a type of training that is very compatible with martial arts with its ability to offer powerful movements that make us of multiple muscle groups, especially the core.  I've seen the benefits of the kettlebell training integration already, in terms of speed, power, and strength improvements.  I've been studying all I can about kettlebells and find them very fascinating.  I'm looking forward to learning more, improving my use of them, and reporting on the progress in that area as well.

I really hope to give the NuHealth folks another progress photo in the near future. They recently ran the advertisement below that shows 4 images, with a before and 3 progress photos.  The final one is about 2 months old as of now and I have made more strides since then, but want to be sure I give them an image that shows a very noticeable jump forward.

The training is going very nicely, though, and the core workout has advanced to its best level yet.  Onward and upward. ;)









Friday, February 12, 2016

New Interview Posted at the Blog of H.C. Playa, Covering Writing and Sword and Sorcery


It has been just a little bit since I had a new interview, but there's one that went live today at the blog of H.C. Playa.  Covers writing, sword and sorcery, and goes quite a bit into elements concerning both Heart of a Lion and the Fires in Eden Series.  Quite a few insights about Rayden Valkyrie in this one too.  Definitely worth checking out if you get a moment. 

Big thanks to H.C. Playa for interviewing me!

The direct link is! 


Friday, January 29, 2016

Carrying On as a Single Guy in a Tough Age

This has definitely been an introspective week.  We got a rather big snowstorm last weekend here in Lexington and that was followed up by a rather bad sinus infection/flu kind of thing that had me pretty home-bound much of this week.

It drove home a lot of things.  A lot of difficult things that aren't that easy to talk about.  This was a very lonely week and one that was in great contrast to a situation I was in at this time last year.   It involves so much that I don't understand.

I know, and have shown, that I am generous, kind-hearted, willing to go the extra-mile to show my appreciation, and have a true romantic streak toward, those I'd hoped to become my partners in crime on life's road.  It has astounded me more than once to see what paths have been chosen by others.  Obviously, I cannot go into detail in a public forum like this, but suffice it to say I have seen some really mind-boggling choices transpire.

I know I could be a great father or a great male figure, or even a great step-dad kind of person for kids.  A solid role model, a good example, someone that is supportive and guiding and caring.  I don't see a whole hell of a lot of that out there anymore, so I always figured that would be an asset.  Apparently not, but it's something I desire to be, in a way that I can only describe like a calling.  I know what my own parents were to me and that is something I would like to be for some kids in a very big way, whether they are mine in a biological sense, aren't, or perhaps both.  I know without question, if I did have both in my world (biological and non-biological) I would never treat the two any differently.

I'm sorry to say, but the bad guy is very, very rarely going to change.  As in extremely rarely.  A woman is not going to "fix" that person, or change them.  They will be doing the same things month in and month out, year in and year out, that they did before.  Leopards don't change their spots.

I'll never understand the pull that some truly loathsome guys have had on women (and I mean loathsome, as in the beater, the cheater, and the substance abuser).  Worse, I've seen, very often, women go from bad guy to bad guy as if there will be a different outcome from making the same kind of choice each time.  It's frustrating, and something I've often had to keep my silence on, but I can talk about it in a general sense here.

A guy that cares is not necessarily going to move as fast as a bad guy.  But that's because he genuinely respects, and wants to show respect, for the woman he hopes to become his partner.

Never think the good guy cannot be as spontaneous, or fun-loving as the bad guy.  The good guy is just going to make sure the context is in the right place, and that everything about a given situation is given appreciation and respect.  If the woman is patient, she will discover that there are layers, depths, and horizons to the truly caring guy that the bad guy cannot hope to reach.  The caring guy will be able to take a woman to some incredible levels of experience.

Honestly, I don't know what to think anymore.  I firmly have felt, for a long time, that I can bring the best of both worlds.  I am family-oriented and have a solid grounding.  I am loyal, and do not have any of the big red flag issues like violence, substance abuse or cheating problems.  I am also very fun-loving, creative, spontaneous, adventurous, and willing to go the extra mile to make a relationship a wonderful and exciting one.

I have no idea why I am in a place where I spent the last week alone, when I am in a place where I have so much to offer and give, and continuously watch others settle for so very little and often things that are of great harm.  It's an area that is vexing and frustrating.

I hear a lot of women posting and talking about there not being any good guys left.  There are, most definitely, but a woman has to make the choice to have one in their world to make that happen, and truly reject the bad guys so prevalent out there.

I know what I offer and I'll carry on.  But it isn't easy.






Sunday, January 24, 2016

My Music Motivations #2

Heavy metal and hard rock throughout the years has resounded with themes of believing in oneself, following your dreams, self-empowerment, being willing to stand alone, having the courage to stand up for yourself, and being willing to stand up for others.  It is one of the major reasons I love this genre of music and many times I have had to take strength and inspiration from songs that reflect these themes to get through difficult periods of my own.

In today's My Music Motivations, I want to spotlight the song "To the Threshold" by the hardcore/metal band Hatebreed.  Don't let the name of the band fool you.  These guys, through and through, have created some of the most positive, self-empowerment songs that you could find in any genre.



"To the Threshold" is a song that fires me up to no end, as it is not only about self-empowerment, but it is also about seeking to help empower others. The two-fold nature of this song resonates so powerfully within me.  I often do my martial arts training to Hatebreed, and songs like this certainly stoke the flames when I am doing high intensity training and building upon my own self-empowerment and growth in strength. 

The song wastes no time in getting at its core themes, in the very first lines:

This is the sound of the lost, beaten and broken, 
rising up and claiming what has been taken from us 
From the shadows of the past 
From the depths of our own failures 
Stepping forward into the light 
Denying our demise 
Decimating all uncertainty 
Bowing to only who can place judgement upon me

This song calls to those who have had heartache, loss, setbacks, and been knocked down in life, exhorting them to step out of the shadows of the past and into the light with a determination to fight. The denial of one's demise is at the foundation of rising back up again, embracing the will to keep moving forward and not to quit. Life is not fair and does take from so many of us in a very cruel way, so there are times when we must feel a degree of fury, set our minds, and rise back up again.  

All too often those who feel that they are broken and beaten remain mired in such a state.  In doing so, they become self-fulfilling prophets, and self-defeating. There is a path back, but we must each decide to take that path and step forward.  Deny your demise and decimate uncertainty! 

The next lines in the song reflect the other core aspect, that of building up and empowering others, with a very pointed nuance. The person is doing it from a position of strength.  They have pushed themselves to the Threshold and now they are in a place where they can lead by example. 

Give me your broken 
Give me your beaten 
I will build them up 
I will lead them 
To The Threshold 
Make you stronger 
Make you believe 
I am the one in the same 
but now stronger than uncertainty

These words encourage someone who has risen back up from hardship and regained strength to show others the path. The words reflect someone who has been in the shoes of the broken and beaten, a person who understands all too well what that is like. But this person has risen up and knows how to grow stronger and believe, and can do that by example, which is certainly one of the most powerful forms of leading others. The willingness to reach out to others and help build others up and guide them in self-empowerment. is a very special aspect of this wonderful song.

Within this army 
This is more than a battle - cry 
It's the blood of our lifeline 
Flowing faster

Once you come out of the other side of rising back up, knowing what it takes to grow stronger, the idea of being able to push yourself to the threshold, or limits, is not just a battle cry as the song states. It is a part of who you are, something that flows within your veins.  It is, as the song states so well, the blood of one's lifeline. 

This is the sound of the lost, beaten and broken 
Decimating all fears 
Stronger than ever 
Beyond every dream 
Ascension into supremacy 
Now we're stronger than ever

Backed by thundering riffs and rhythm, this section is the battle cry. The ascension into supremacy, to me, is mastering oneself and becoming the strongest and best person that you can be. That's the ultimate supremacy. Stronger than ever and decimating fears as the lyrics say. The lost, beaten and broken renewed, resurrected, and standing taller than ever. I love everything about this section and what it hails.

We were the broken 
We were the beaten 
I was once like you 
Now I push myself to the threshold 
Because I am stronger 
Because I believe 
Now I spit in the face of defeat 
Now I'm stronger than all uncertainty

This final section brings everything together and ends the song on an absolute high note. It reflects someone who has risen back up and those that the person has helped, reached out to, and guided, all empowered and stronger than ever before. The absolute defiance of spitting in the face of defeat and the strength to face uncertainty reflects those who are not broken or beaten in any way. It is the description of what a champion is all about, a person who can push themselves to the limits. To the threshold.

No matter what you have been through, believe in yourself.  And become stronger than ever. :) 


Saturday, January 16, 2016

When a Two Year Old is Called To Keep Moving Forward


I have often said that I have found myself in the role of the underdog since the beginning, and I've meant that in a very literal sense.  Today, I wanted to share some things about my childhood that had a very significant impact upon my life, my development, my outlook, and in many ways who I am today.

At the age of two, I endured a traumatic head injury.  Court cases later involving myself and several other children who were seriously hurt brought to light that this was the result of a violent and abusive daycare worker.

The back of my skull was crushed and I was rushed to an emergency surgery.  I was told by my folks later that I nearly died that day.  The back of my skull was essentially shattered to the point that even part of the brain was exposed.  Following a very extensive surgery and craniotomy, involving the use of a slew of tiny clamps, I made it through and even still could smile as the photo shows.



Of course, this was a hellish experience for my folks to go through and the beginning of a very long road.  I can't even imagine what it must have been like for them.

At the age of two, because of the vulnerability of my skull, I had to begin sleeping in what was a small hockey helmet at night.  I had to sleep in a helmet for a few years, in fact, as well as wear this helmet all throughout the day.  Literally, except for when I had gentle washing and baths, I had to wear that thing 24 hours a day.

Obviously, being on the playground, or at pre-school and later, in a helmet tends to bring you a lot of unpleasant attention from other kids.  The only good news was that I did not get beat up as even the bigger kids were savvy enough to realize that punching a hockey helmet would not benefit their hands very well.  But I did get called names quite a bit, and even to the kids who were my friends I was a curiosity.  I endured a lot of rapping knuckles like a door knock on my helmet and things like that.



It was a very difficult process to go through as I was very aware of the attention I attracted. I became very self-conscious and wondered what was wrong with me quite often.  Thankfully, I did end up having some very good playmates who more or less stuck up for me out on the playground and elsewhere, and teachers tended to keep a good eye out for me.

I learned to live with it and did not shut down.  The overwhelming amount of that credit goes to my folks who were absolutely amazing parents to have and who fought for me anytime any organizer had an issue about me participating in something while wearing a helmet.



They made sure I was in social activities with my peer group, supported my interests, and really were there to help me hold the line while I was struggling during that time as a three year old, four year old, five year old, and on up.  They didn't shelter me or coddle me, they encouraged me to engage, to participate, and to do anything any of the other kids were doing.



The doctors overseeing my development determined that my head was more or less normalized except for one very small zone as I entered my first years of t-ball and small fry baseball (like little league).  My mother's godfather, a wonderful man named Fritz Gassman, who we affectionately called Uncle Fritz, had an autobody shop and worked with materials like fiberglass.  He took it upon himself, on his own initiative, to create a baseball cap that had snaps in the back, into which a curving fiberglass plate could be fitted.

At long last, I did not have to wear a helmet anymore, and was able to shift into a baseball cap.  By that time I had been able to go to sleep at night without wearing headgear, so this enabled me to enter a much more normalized state of existence.  Since I went to a school that required uniforms (Catholic school), being able to wear a ballcap actually became a cool accessory that some kids were jealous of!

By the time that I moved on to Babe Ruth League my head finally reached the point where I was able to go full time without protective headgear.

Nevertheless, the experience, looking back on it, had a profound effect on my lifetime.  It instilled within me a sensitivity to those being bullied, and to anyone that had something that caused them to stand out a bit from the crowd.  It gave me a special respect for anyone saddled with some kind of health or physical-related challenge.  It gave me a passion for the underdog in any sphere of life.

I think in many ways, since I was singled out all the time because of that helmet, it caused me to think in terms of individuals and not groups.  To this day, I view each person on an individual level and shun labels and categories in my personal relationships and interactions. Truly, if there ever was a lesson about the importance of tolerance, then this was a big one that I took forward with me across the years.  I credit this in a big way for the fact that I have had wonderful friendships with individuals coming from all walks of life, no matter what culture, ethnicity, religion, level of education, sexual orientation, or any other area typically used to define groups.

It required me to be resilient, to believe in myself and that I could still walk tall even if I was being made fun or being stared at.  I really did learn to march to my own drummer and be able to stand alone.  It toughened me in a lot of ways, and prepared me better for the interior self-esteem battle I would fight soon after putting on a lot of weight due to being hypothyroid just as I was entering my high school years.

In a matter of a few violent seconds, a two year old's life had a shadow cast over it that lasted many years.  Nevertheless, that two year old did keep moving forward ... onward and upward.


Monday, January 11, 2016

My Music Motivations #1

Music is an essential part of my world and many songs have had a very powerful impact upon me over the years.  I've played music (overwhelmingly on guitar), written to it, gone about my daily tasks to it, worked out to it, and simply given it my full listening attention, all throughout the years.

It has motivated me, bolstered, me, inspired me, and helped pick me up again more times than I can count.  With the My Music Motivation posts, I hope to give some perspective to how music makes such an impact upon me and spotlight a few special songs that have held a lot of meaning for me. 

In this first installment, I want to present the song "Marathon" by Rush, from their fantastic Power Windows album. 



This song, in my view, presents a powerful and positive approach to life as a whole.  The idea of life as a marathon is such a powerful metaphor and one well-worth pondering.

I used to run a lot when I played baseball, often for longer distances for conditioning purposes.  While I never ran a marathon's distance, in a technical sense, I did acquire an appreciation for things like pacing, endurance, conditioning, and training.

All of these ideas are reflected in the song.  Let's take a look at most of the lyrical content and I will share what I've gleaned and what I've taken from them.

"It's not how fast you can go
The force goes into the flow"

Life requires pacing.  It doesn't all happen at once and you can't force things to go faster or slower. It simply happens, at whatever scale.

The flow is where the force really is, as life involves all kinds of events and experiences that occur at different rates and levels of impact.  Again, the idea of a flow, rushing at one time and slow and even in another, resonates powerfully with the idea of life and the energy of life.

"More than just survival 
More than just a flash 
More than just a dotted line 
More than just a dash"

This, to me, gets at the sheer magnitude and nature of life. It IS more than just survival and existing, and going from point to point.  Life is something so much greater.  We only experience a finite number of years in this physical life, but it is important to retain the idea of a bigger picture, that life is not just the act of living in a biological sense from day to day.  In saying that life is more than survival, I believe the song hints at the idea that life can be about thriving too.

"It's a test of ultimate will
The heartbreak climb uphill
Got to pick up the pace
If you want to stay in the race"

Life is filled with all manner of setbacks, heartbreaks, losses and pitfalls.   These are the moments that really test your ultimate will, in so many ways.  In my own life, significant passings in my family and significant heartbreaks I have suffered have required very steep uphill climbs.

I've had to pick up my pace many times over to get back into the race, as the song says, and it often requires all the willpower you can muster to do so.  I have to admit I'd love for at least the heartbreak part of it to come to an end, but I'm still girded to pick up the pace.  Passing that test of ultimate will is far, far from easy, but it is required.  

"One moment's high
And glory rolls on by
Like a streak of lightning
That flashes and fades
In the summer sky"

To me, this is a warning not to become arrogant. There is a distinct difference between confidence and arrogance.  Confidence is a very good thing, and it is based upon honesty about your ability and capabilities and what you know you can do. You simply can't get too caught up in the glory and hoopla, because the nature of life is transient, and even the biggest period of success doesn't last.  Things do flash and fade and you have to keep a sobered view when running the marathon of life.

"Your meters may overload
You can rest at the side of the road
You can miss a stride
But nobody gets a free ride" 

Nobody does get a free ride.  Life truly isn't fair, and in my experience rarely goes all that smoothly. Nevertheless, there are times when you do have to take a time out.  That might be resetting yourself, refocusing, and recalibrating.  It is perfectly fine to take a "time out", to get some rest, and to accept that fact that sometimes you are fatigued or overwhelmed, and a rest at the side of the road is in order.  I've had those moments myself and they've been very helpful for progressing on life's marathon.

The words about missing a stride I find interesting, as in my opinion it hints at making mistakes in life, and it suggests that's okay too.  I've learned from my mistakes, when I've missed that stride here or there, and it's helped me to run the race much better as I go forward.

"You can do a lot in a lifetime
If you don't burn out too fast
You can make the most of the distance
First you need endurance
First you've got to last"

There is a lot of positive encouragement in this section.  Each and every person CAN do a lot in a lifetime.  The key is making use of the time you have been given, but that means you have to last, you have to endure.  That means that you have to weather the storms, you have to grow stronger and progress, you have to develop,and  you have to adapt and adjust to what life throws at you.

In the end, you can complete the marathon in a way you can be very proud of.  To me, that's what this song is all about.



Thursday, January 7, 2016

Full Song "Heart of a Lion" Released for Forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot Project Campaign

I had an amazing surprise today! The FULL song "Heart of a Lion", composed and performed by Kylie Jude of Frozen Creek Studios for our upcoming TV Pilot Project campaign, to bring to life a dedicated Rayden Valkyrie television show. Kylie Jude captured Rayden's essence beautifully and this is a full lyrics video too. This character, this series, is all about staying strong and moving forward, onward and upward, in the face of all storms.".

As the chorus goes:

 "You can't break me
I will still be
Fighting.... 
Roaring...."



To sign up on the official mailing list for the Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot Project Campaign and to keep up with this exciting project, please visit www.raydenvalkyrie.com

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Proud to Announce New Association With and Endorsement of NuHealth and Their Recharge Line of Health Supplements


I am very proud to announce a new association with and endorsement of NuHealth and their Recharge line of health supplements.  This could not be a more pure of an endorsement situation, as I have consistently used their products throughout my fitness journey, one that has seen me drop close to 180 pounds and go down eight pants sizes over the past 21 months.

Being hypothyroid, I have a challenge when it comes to a slower metabolism, and I found that using products such as Recharge Metabolism and Recharge Testosterone, for maintaining healthier metabolic rates and overall testosterone health and support (as when I started this journey I had a lower T level) was very helpful in the full process.  I also use a product of theirs called Muscle Shred 3D, also for metabolic support.  These products truly have been a valuable part of my full approach to health and fitness, which includes maintaining much healthier diet habits and a dedicated exercise regimen centered around training in the martial art Krav Maga.

Bryce and the good folks at NuHealth have always been kind and supportive of my journey, from the earliest stages and far before any kind of association was ever discussed or even any significant "before and after" picture could be taken.  They are truly engaged and good with their customers, champion healthy living, and I am convinced of their integrity having experienced it for almost two years first-hand.

With a store located in Lexington, Kentucky, NuHealth has a line of health supplement products that are also available at their online store at www.nuhealthlifestyle.com . As part of the new association, anyone who uses the code "ZFORCE" at the online store can get 25% off, including apparel items.

I am very excited to be associated with the NuHealth family.  With proven integrity on every level, and products I have found to be effective in a time-proven manner, NuHealth is a company I can put my name behind without hesitation. I am very grateful to Bryce and the NuHealth family for their support of my own fitness journey and look forward to a wonderful association ahead. Onward and Upward! :)


ShareThis