So, we’ve spent the last few days talking about the book titles currently available from the illustrious Mr. Seth Skorkowsky — my long time friend and partner in all manner of ridiculous shenanigans.
Well, until tomorrow (with the release of “Sea of Quills: Tales of the Black Raven Book II“), we’ve run out of Seth Skorkowsky books to talk about.
So, to pass the time until “Sea of Quills” is released into the wild tomorrow, let’s discuss pancakes, lunar eclipses, gunfire, and of course, writing.
What do all of these things have in common? You guessed it — Seth Skorkowsky.
It was approximately 6 years ago at Three A.M. that my friendship with Seth and his lovely wife Kayci became fully-realized. It happened, as most bromances do, at an IHOP along a lonely stretch of interstate outside Springfield, MO. Trust me, that’s Bromance Central. Y’all don’t even know. There, in the throes of my despair, the two of them were keeping me:
- In my chair
- Feeding me pancakes (no matter how hard I tried to do anything BUT eat my pancakes)
In my defense, I was alone and completely polluted. It was a tough weekend. I’d just gotten done burying my father. He was my best friend in this world, and after a long illness, he was finally gone. It just so happened that I had about 40 friends coming into town just down the road that weekend, Seth and Kayci among them. So — I packed half a bag and rambled on down the highway to where my people gathered for a much merrier reason. It was another one of those wild-ass paintballer parties. I needed something like that.
As one might expect under these circumstances, I proceeded to proceed and tied one on. To the point that, as my friend Greg would say, I was “hooker fightin’ drunk.” If memory serves, that was actually his official diagnosis that night. Anyway…
I have a very dim memory of Seth and Kayci hooking onto my combative wings at some point that evening and taking very, very good care of me. Because I was really in no position to take care of myself.
I remember the pancakes. Sort of. They had no reason to go to the almost super-human lengths required to keep me out of jail or the morgue for the next 12 hours, but they did. I never forgot that. There’s a debt owed there. One to be repaid somehow, some day. In much more than a reciprocal pancake breakfast.
Seth’s debut novel “Damoren (Valducan #1)” prominently featured the monstrous ritualistic workings of a diabolical cult — their hideous rites tied to the coming of a Lunar Eclipse. On the day the book was released, there was an actual Lunar Eclipse. As I sit here and type this blog post, I’m watching the 2015 Supermoon Eclipse in real-time out my front window. Coincidence? I think not.
Seth had a vision for a book about a gunslinging, demon-hunting hero. There was only one problem. At the time Seth could shoot a gun about as well as my bulldog can operate the microwave. It could be done, but the results weren’t pretty, and it didn’t happen very often or with any confidence.
One day while visiting, we decided collectively it was time to do something about that. So, I took him and his wife out into the back-asshole of the sticks to the most deserted gun range I knew. I wanted privacy for this murder… er… lesson. I set up all sorts of fun little drills and reactive targets. We threw an arsenal out on the bench and made our way through every last weapon, giving a crash course in the right and wrong way to use them.
We proceeded to spend the next several hours burning through hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Not only did we talk shooting, we talked about the horrible realities of armed violence — the “way shit really works” versus the “Hollywood version of the way shit works” and why it should matter to us in our writerly-writer craft. We discussed the things that come along with the determined application of violence in action — fear, adrenaline rush, confusion, chaos, exhilaration, aftermath, regret, acceptance…
We had a very long heart-to-heart about what it meant to willfully pick up that weapon and use it.
In the end, it was a damn successful day at the range, because it made a big impact on the landscape of “Damoren (Valducan #1).” I was pleased as a peach to see it staining the pages red. He was a damn good student that day and has remained a good student ever since. I am proud to say that he is on my list of “friends I would bring to the Zombie Apocalypse.”
By the way — Seth’s wife Kayci? Yeah. She was a natural. When the zombie shit hits the fan, she’ll be the one carrying a big old necklace full of ears.
… And of course, writing.
Every writerly-writer type has that fellow author friend. The one they are first to celebrate with when it goes well. The one they are first to talk to when the rejection letter, shitty review, or wasted chapter comes in.
For me, that’s Seth Skorkowsky.
I could drop a thousand anecdotes here about our friendship as writers. But I think I can summarize it with just one. My friend, Seth Skorkowsky, has done more to keep me inspired and pounding out words than any other author I know. The truth is, writing is hard. It’s hard in ways that are difficult to even articulate to non-writer friends, readers, reviewers, and fans. I couldn’t explain it all if I tried, and putting words together is one of the things I do for a living.
There’s nothing better than knowing you have that friend who you don’t have to explain it to at all. For me, that’s Seth.
When the shitty day at the keyboard happens. When the rejection letter or contract stress comes wiggling in like a maggot. When the doubt and sense of being an impostor hack flares up like a bad case of the Clap. It’s comforting, and ultimately encouraging, to know you have that friend. The one you don’t have to say anything to except for “Well… that sucked.” And they get it.
And then they pour you a big glowing mug of the Green Dragon, put on a crooked-ass smirk, and say “So, what are ya working on next?”
Thanks, Seth. Pancakes are on me.
See you all tomorrow for the release of
“Sea of Quills: Tales of the Black Raven Book II”