Day 6 of the WordCrafter “Visions” Book Blog TourPosted: October 22, 2022 | |
Three digital copies of Visions will go to three lucky winners.
Enter at each stop just by leaving a comment so I know you were there.
Follow the tour, comment at each stop, and learn more about this exceptional anthology.
For Day 6 of the WordCrafter Visions Book Blog Tour, we have an exciting double stop, with a guest post by contributing author Jeff Bowles, about his story, “Wilding of the Painted World”, and then, we’re heading over to SaraWesleyMcBride.com, where Sara is doing an interview with me about the anthology and WordCrafter Press. So, let’s get right into it and turn things over to Jeff.
Reclaiming My Mind and My Dignity
My entire life, I’ve suffered from serious mental illness. This is a matter of fact thing, mentioned here so that I can relate to you the inspiration for my short story, Wilding of the Painted World. About a year before I wrote the first draft, I suffered a psychotic break. It was my first, and to this day, my only one of those horrible things.
Trust me when I tell you my whole world flipped upside down. The hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, the sense of my true self submerged in some kind of crazy facsimile. Not too much detail is required. Suffice it to say, it wrecked my life ever so slightly for several years. Though I’ve found ways to overcome the more dormant form of my now diagnosed Schizoaffective Disorder, the haunting nature of those wild days follows me still.
When I was beginning to recover from the aftershocks of having been, temporarily at least, stark raving mad, I thought I’d come back to my writing as a means of catharsis. I hadn’t written a word in months and months, and the writing didn’t come easy. I had this notion that a perfect life, a perfect world, was waiting out there for me somewhere. I was lost to this mental state for so long, I neglected to count my blessings whenever, however I could.
One of those blessings was my wife. No, that’s not a strong enough statement. The single largest blessing in my life is my wonderful, beautiful wife. Who, despite my behavior, despite having acted in some truly disturbing ways, stuck with me and even chose to become a major part of the recovery process. She championed my desire to heal through writing. She’s been by my side for seventeen years, thirteen of which have been in matrimony. I’m incredibly lucky to have her, though she hates the idea that she’s done anything special. She has. She helped save my mind, maybe even my life.
I’ve tried to be as nurturing toward her as she’s been toward me. Who knows if I’ve come anywhere close. She gave me this wonderful idea one night as we were eating dinner and watching one of our favorite shows. It was a vision, really. She saw in her mind’s eye, I believe, the image of a young girl painting a picture of herself. If you could live in that painted world, you’d find a version of you that would be radically different from you as you exist in real life. What if that place was used as a home? Or, conversely, what if it were a prison?
That last part was my contribution to the original concept. I wanted to set it in a classical Fantasy world, one in which magical things can and do happen. I have dark writing sensibilities anyway, but the things I’d just gone through tended to color the penning of Wilding in a fairly sober fashion. I guess I fell in love with the idea of escaping to a place beautiful but bizarre, enchanting and rare, but tinged with just a hint of longing and despair. I understood these modes of feeling and thinking. They were my second nature at that time.
Plus, I wanted to write a sequence at a masquerade. I loved the idea, but more than this, one of the people I feel I hurt during my psychosis had once written a beautiful piece of fiction staring a masquerade, so that bit of Wilding is an homage. Coming all together in a somewhat unexpected manner (in that I didn’t expect to be able to finish the story at all), and then going through a battery of revisions, Wilding of the Painted World is more serious in tone than most of my other fiction. I hope you enjoy it, but please realize that for me, the production of this piece was an act of desperation. It did help me heal, but not as much or as quickly as I would have liked. Now, five years after the first draft, it has been published in full, and I find myself curious how it will be received.
I’m a different person now, but no, the misery of my Schizoaffective has not left me. My wife once told me that I may be a crazy person, but that at least I was a reasonable one. Thank God for that. Sometimes I can’t help but feel like I’m a monster, a scary person. But I wasn’t before, and I suppose I’m not now. Good riddance to bad days—getting back to basics is a great way to begin the reclamation of one’s own identity.
The writing is easier now, much easier than it was when I first struggled to define the character of Master Kestor and his incredible painting of a wild, wild world. Where dark things linger. Where a creature who once was normal, just like you and me, dwells in chosen confinement, waiting for a day of glory, of redemption. A lasting day of piece. May we all be as steadfast as her.
About Jeff Bowles
Jeff Bowles is a science fiction and horror writer from the mountains of Colorado. The best of his outrageous and imaginative work can be found in God’s Body: Book One – The Fall, Godling and Other Paint Stories, Fear and Loathing in Las Cruces, and Brave New Multiverse. He has published work in magazines and anthologies like PodCastle, Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, the Threepenny Review, and Dark Moon Digest. Jeff earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Western State Colorado University. He currently lives in the high-altitude Pikes Peak region, where he dreams strange dreams and spends far too much time under the stars. Jeff’s new novel, Love/Madness/Demon, is available on Amazon now!
Order your copy today. Available at your favorite book distributor through the Books2Read UBL: https://books2read.com/u/49Lk28
About the Book
An author’s visions are revealed through their stories. Many authors have strange and unusual stories, indeed. Within these pages, you will find the stories of eighteen different authors, each unique and thought provoking. These are the fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and horror stories that will keep you awake long into the night.
What happens when:
An inexplicable monster plagues a town for generations, taking people… and souvenirs?
A post-apocalyptic band of travelers finds their salvation in an archaic machine?
The prey turns out to be the predator for a band of human traffickers?
Someone chooses to be happy in a world where emotions are regulated and controlled?
A village girl is chosen to be the spider queen?
Grab your copy today and find out. Let authors such as W.T. Paterson, Joseph Carabis, Kaye Lynne Booth, Michaele Jordan, Stephanie Kraner, and others, including the author of the winning story in the WordCrafter 2022 Short Fiction Contest, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, tantalize your thoughts and share their
From Kaye Lynne Booth, editor of Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Fairy Tales & Folklore, Refracted Reflections: Twisted Tales of Duality & Deception and Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths & Shattered Fairy Tales.
That’s it for today’s stop on Writing to be Read, but don’t forget about Sara Wesley McBride’s interview with me: https://www.sarawesleymcbride.com/visions/. I’m anxious to share with you about the Visions anthology and what I do through WordCrafter Press. I do hope you’ll drop in for a bit.
Here are the links to the previous stops in case you missed them.
Day 1 – Guest Post – Billie Holladay Skelley & Winning Story Interview with Roberta Eaton Cheadle – Writing to be Read
Tuesday – October 18 – Guest Post – Michaele Jordan & Review – Patty’s World
Wednesday – October 19 – Guest Post – D.L. Mullan – The Many Showers of Blessings
Thursday – October 20 – Guest Post – C.R. Johanssen & Review – Robbie’s Inspiration
Friday – October 21 – Guest Post – Patty L. Fletcher & Review – Zigler’s News
Tomorrow on Roberta Writes, we have a guest post by contributing author Stephanie Kraner, and then Monday, we’ll wrap up with a guest post from contributing author Joseph Carabis right here on Writing to be Read and a review by DL Mullan on Undawnted. Remember to leave a comment at each stop, so I can tell you were there. You get an entry into the giveaway just for showing up, but I have to know you were there.
Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!