Halloween is special to me. It's the one day out of the year that feels like a free pass to assume the identity of anyone, or anything, that I want. Maybe that's the reason why I've always loved it, because—being completely truthful—I've often wanted to be someone other than myself.
Loving who I am is something I struggle with daily. I know it's taboo to admit something like that publicly, especially to an audience that may see me as something greater than what I myself feel like I am. But, I've learned over the years to lean into my vulnerability; I've found that the danger of losing friends, colleagues, peers, or fans who are uncomfortable about such things is far outweighed by the potential of resonating with those who can relate.
These are my people. The brave souls who have the strength to admit that they too have struggles, challenges, and aren’t always as “on” and “glamorous” and “put together” as we are societally expected to be.
If you're reading this, then quite possibly you fall into that category as well. There’s a good chance that you also wish to escape your world from time to time, and find comfort in the permission that Halloween gives us to put on a mask, and join the circus of weirdness.
Knowing this now, you can probably guess why I chose Halloween a few years back to release "Mortal Enemy” to the world! And, while that uniquely important Halloween will always be one for the ages, this year's is proving to be one of the most special yet for one simple reason: I'm alive. You see, for being such an outspoken individual, I find there are certain things I'm exceedingly private about. And, my recent struggles with health falls into this category.
While I would prefer to keep the particulars to myself, I feel it’s time to finally share with my community that over the last two years I've had five surgeries, and a few brushes with death. There was hardly a day in all of that time that I wasn't in a tremendous amount of pain—pain so extreme that I didn't know it was even possible to endure such things.
However, like Vant Hu'l, I rebelled against death. I put on my metaphoric whip gauntlets and gave the grim reaper one hell of a fight. And I’m thrilled to say that finally, at long last, I have come out the other end. Still alive. Still ticking. Still kicking.
All that said, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to confess something to you. I had desperately hoped with every fiber of my being that this Halloween would be the one that I would have a draft completed of "Mortal Vengeance," the sequel that is far too long in the making. Alas, as I hope you will never have to discover, pain is exceedingly hard to work through. I found that creating nearly anything within the parameters of the ridiculously high standards that I hold myself to, while enduring the particular condition I was in, was just not possible. As such, I had to regrettably put the further adventures of Vant Hu'l, Skii Tavee, Kram Grammie, and The World's Worst Magician on hold.
Yet, there's not a day gone by that I haven't thought about them. And after all that I've had to endure, I am emerging even more committed to seeing their journey through to the very end. If you'll just hang in there a little while longer, I promise to give everything I’ve got in me to tell a tale that will live up to—and dare I say, surpass—the original.
Now, while I don't have a new book to share with you this Halloween, I do have something else I can offer as a token of appreciation, and something that serves as a symbol of the commitment that I have to the project. As of this moment, "Mortal Enemy" has a brand new, enhanced website with a handful of features that have been requested over the years, such as audio clips of each cast member, full credits pages, an easier way to find the book and audiobook in all of the different formats, and a handful of new super-rad items in the merch store for the die-hard fans to enjoy. I realize this gesture is not a lot, but I hope what it stands for elevates it to more than the sum of its parts.
Thank you for letting me share with you. For allowing me to be vulnerable with you. And, for your incredible (and, forgive the pun) UNDYING support. But above all else…
Have a very, very, very happy Halloween.
P.S., there's one more surprise. I've rebranded the series—yes, again!—hopefully for the last time! While formerly known as "Legends of the Grim Reaper," the tales and adventures shall henceforth be known as the "Legends of Grim." Over time, I fell in love with that moniker, how it rings in the ear, and how it provides a subtle hint that the story is in some way about the grim reaper without being entirely obvious. So, for you hardcore collectors, you'll find that the paperback and hardcover books on all of the major platforms now have the updated series title. I hope you approve of the new direction, and feel free to add the books to your collection if you ever choose to do so. Oh, and please, let's keep in touch! Feel free to to write me at the contact link on the website. I always love connecting with my friends around the globe, and I’m always appreciative of any words of encouragement you may have to spare. Your support is what keeps me going, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Hope to hear from you soon.