Exactly one year ago I was on the road taking a journey that changed my life for the better. I had retired from the Central Intelligence Agency after a (I'd like to think) successful twenty-three year career, packed up my Forester with my four rabbits in special travel cages, and set out on a sixteen-hour drive to Gainesville, Florida to be with Alison Beightol. It was one of the most momentous decisions of my life, and one I do not regret.
For those who don't know the story, Alison is a fellow author of her own vampire trilogy (Blood Betrayal and Blood Beginnings of The Primegenio Tales) who reached out to me four years ago to say how much she loved my first novel, The Vampire Hunters. Over time, we became good friends and colleagues, and Alison provided emotional support during a very difficult period of my life. We began dating in November 2011, got engaged exactly one year later, and were married on Halloween 2013 in the chapel of the Gainesville VA Hospital so Alison's father, who was in the terminal stage of bladder cancer, could give away his beloved daughter.
As I made the long journey from northern Virginia to Florida, I had no idea what would be in store for me, but my hopes were high. Sadly, fate had other plans. It has been a difficult year. The family has suffered numerous health related tragedies and setbacks. The new house flooded one month after we moved in and repairing the damage destroyed our savings because, despite having flood insurance, the insurers refused to pay out on the claim. Plus, on a personal note, three of my four rabbits passed away from old age.
Despite all the negatives, I gained much more from this move than I lost. Alison's family has adopted me as one of their own. Madeline, my stepdaughter, is a lovely young lady who thinks highly of me. Alison's boxers, Walther and Bella, consider me part of the pack (or at least the most useful member since I can open the fridge). And I have become a cat lover.
The writing front had some temporary setbacks as we tried to keep our lives from falling apart, but all that is about to change. Emby Press is re-releasing The Vampire Hunters trilogy throughout the year and, in a few months, will be including my short story "From Space It Came" (a giant spider from space) in an upcoming anthology. In the next few months, Blood Bound Books will be publishing Yeitso, my first foray into the big monster genre and my homage to the monster movies of the 1950s that had such an impact on my life. My sequel to Rotter World is with Permuted Press for publication later this year, and Hell Gate, my first young adult novel, is being reviewed by a literary agent. And I am currently involved in three other writing projects,
But the best part of all is Alison is now a permanent part of my life. She is my best friend, colleague, soon-to-be-coauthor, confidante, lover, wife, and soul mate. And tomorrow marks the anniversary of our moving in together. It was the best decision I ever made.