Friday, March 31, 2017

J Clair

J Clair

I think the average person would love to reinvent themselves occasionally, whether to mark a major event, or to show how much someone has changed. Our with the old and in with the new, so to speak. 

I feel like...this is one of those times for me. 2016 was a terrible year in many ways. I had to move from a place I loved. I lost family members and friends. I lost my income. There was a whole lot of loss. Meanwhile, I was an emotional wreck, because I was unsure where life was headed. I remember talking to my wife and saying that I wasn't happy. 

Of course I was still happy with her and my children, but there was something within me that I couldn't explain. There was a yearning for more. 

And things changed drastically with the birth of my son, Max. On the very day he was born, while my wife was in labor, I received an email from Amazon saying that I had been reinstated. I was back, and yet, so much had changed. I had already uprooted my life, gotten a job, and changed my whole outlook on life, I didn't know when was the last time I would be able to full time write again. 

But then...everything started changing. Things that made my heart ache were resolved. I was happier even though I was broke. I had more time for family. And though I wasn't yet writing, I was able to plan ahead for when I would, knowing that at some point, I would return back to that world.

And so now I've returned, but I've changed. And not just my personality, but my writing as well. I feel like it's cleaner, and more precise. I've grown, and suddenly, Julius St. Clair is not who I am anymore. Not exactly. Those four years of a full time author will always be a part of me and my history, but I want to evolve, and become the phoenix that rose from the ashes months ago. 

And so, I'm trying something.

I'm changing my name to J Clair, and seeing what happens. It might go horribly, and I can go right back to Julius St. Clair. No biggie. Just some lost time. But it's either now or never, when I've already been away from writing for months and lost readers. It's a fresh start, and I might as well see if it all heads in the right direction. I just figured i might as well give you all a heads up. 

:)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Ah, Life...

There's this corny line in an old movie, Forrest Gump, in which he says that Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get.

I remember in college that I thought I had it all figured out. I would graduate, get a great job, and soar into the sky upon wings of excellence. How foolish and naive I was. I ended up waiting tables straight out of college even with a Bachelor's degree under my belt. It was jarring to be sure, but over time I realized that the key was to never give up. Ever.

I thought I had made it nearly five years ago. A failed teaching career turned into a desperate, last resort, reach for the stars. With nothing to lose and finding myself on unemployment after being laid off, I asked my wife if I could try to make a career out of writing. All I wanted was six months. If nothing happened then I would go back to teaching, and I would know what I was doing for the next 30+ years of my life.

In the sixth month, after working 14 hour days, renewing myself every morning, and praying for a miracle, it all came together. I started making as much as I was teaching, and sometimes more. I was ecstatic, and I began making a life around my work. I didn't know what I was doing all the time, but I did my best, and I realized that writing full-time was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Less than a year ago, I lost it all. My books were taken down and although it was temporary, it caused a large enough tear in my life that I was forced to turn it all upside down. I had to move, get a more traditional job, and watch as dream faded. It was the worst day of my life.

But I couldn't quit. And I tried to make the best of my situation. Now, I can finally say that I will be returning back to full-time writing. I didn't think this was would happen anytime soon, but I'm grateful. Although I'm sure I've lost some readers, some fans, a great deal of my audience...I'm hopeful that I can reach someone with one of my stories again.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Hi everyone!

I hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday. I'm writing this just to let you know that Last of the Guardians is going to be delayed another month. I'll keep everyone updated, but having to juggle a new job with writing has been more difficult than I thought, and again, I want to release a quality product. If there are any questions or concerns, please email me at juliusstclair@yahoo.com. 

Thank you. :(

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

I have a problem, guys. It's called blogging. I'm simply terrible at it. It's not that I don't have anything to say, it's just that I'm more of a reactionary type of person. You know, the kind that will keep their mouth shut about something until absolutely necessary. It can be a horrible practice, I know. It's like, "hey guys, my new book is out!" and people are like, "why didn't you tell me about it a month ago? I already spent my book funds on Harry Potter 97," and then I'm like, "well, that sucks...for me..."

It's a habit that I have to break - not writing. But I suppose a lot of my thoughts come to fruition with the context of my stories. Still, why not get into depth on a couple of topics. I know that I'm opening up myself for criticism here, but what is the internet without a little bit of feedback.

Okay, so here goes *deep breath*

I'm going to talk about...a movie I saw recently. Sure, let's begin there. It was Doctor Strange. Now, anyone that knows me knows that I am a huge comic book fan. Not like, I can tell you the issue and volume number kind of fan, but enough that I can hold my own in a trivia game. Well, I saw the movie and I was super excited, but afterwards I was a little disappointed. Why? Because it had the same structure as almost every other Marvel movie. I can't deny that their formula works. If it's not broke, why fix it? But it still gets a wee bit stale sometimes. The formula goes as follows: introduce villain that does something horrible. Introduce sarcastic hero. Hero learns stuff through a horrible ordeal and becomes a rookie of their newfound powers. Hero meets villain and loses once but survives. Hero does something grand. Hero fights villain and wins even though the win seems like they've been blessed a tad by the screenwriter gods.

And yet, I keep going back for more! Ugh, what is wrong with me? lol.

But it got me thinking about my own writing, because I realize that all authors have a writing style and formulas to drive their narrative. Who am I to complain? Still, in order to keep things "fresh," it's great to try out new things. I've been working on a couple of ideas that I hope you'll love, and we'll certainly see. I'll talk about them more in the next post which will be in...January of 2019. I'm kidding! I'm trying to write a LOT sooner than that. Still, don't be afraid to shoot me an email and kick me in the butt once in a while if I take too long. We're in this together!

Anyways, Happy Thanksgiving all!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Being a Parent



For anyone that doesn't know by now, I'm having a second baby! I'm really excited, but of course, me being me, it also helps me to focus and take a second look at certain areas of my life. The same thing happened with my first child. As soon as I found out that he was being born, everything was given another look. 
Suddenly, life wasn't about me and my wife. It was about looking to the future and what I wanted for him. It was strange, not being able to change the things I didn't like on my own, but suddenly, with a child on the way, I was given the strength. It wasn't easy, and my life is completely different now than it was then, but it's for the better in every way. There's a reason why my son's middle name is Lysander (meaning he who is free). I want him to be free. Of drama and hardship and bondage. I want him to look at life as an opportunity and a wonderful thing to be cherished in every way. 
And I think it's working so far. I absolutely love him, and almost every day I'm telling him how he is one of my favorite people in the whole world. He's funny, witty, handsome, energetic, smart and awesome. One moment we're play fighting, and in the next, we're having a conversation about life. Sure, he's only four, so his outlook might be a little different, but it's nice that we can just talk like that. No matter what happens in life, I will be there for him. 
So now, I have a second child on the way, and it brings to light the few things that I would like to change. They are minor things, but there are there nonetheless, and I think it only brings to light the beauty of parenthood. As human beings, we can often be selfish, thinking only of ourselves and not considering another person's side. But being a parent forces us to evaluate what we're doing every day. This child before me is not just a duty. He is literally looking to me for guidance and assistance, and I need to know that I'm steering him right. Sometimes that means making some hard decisions. To this day, I only have one regret in my life, and even then, the result has been bittersweet, not entirely bad. I feel like that's a good thing for my son and my future child. To have far more victories than failures. 
I am once again on the cusp of change, and I'm excited for it. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Storytelling 101

I don't fancy myself a great storyteller in some aspects. One of the reasons is that I have often said that i don't believe in original ideas anymore, only original combinations of ideas. As the old saying goes, "There is nothing new under the sun," and I'm inclined to agree. Sure, the world changes a bit. New technology and what not. But for the most part, the world seems pretty cyclical. There will always be times of war and times of peace. Companies will be born and fail, empires rise and fall. We are are all essentially part of a living, breathing organism that has its ups and downs. 
So when I think of stories, I realize that someone else may have come up with the idea I had, it's just that perhaps they didn't write it down, edit it, publish it, and market it to the masses. Here are the two fundamentals to get you started if you're ever thinking of writing a story. 
1.) Criticize your idea, asking yourself if you've read or heard of something like it before. If so, then add your own spin or twist to it to make it yours. 
2.) Publish.
The second part is key because the main thing keeping people from seeing if their ideas have any merit is simply executing. You can edit and revise a manuscript for twenty years, waiting for that perfect moment, but little did you know that someone with the same idea as you published a book that's similar a decade ago and they're a blockbuster success. We are not entitled to anything, and the world waits for no one. Hard work almost always beats talent so oftentimes, the main enemy is yourself when it comes to your and your success. 
And success means many things. It could be having a friend hear your story being told. It could be finishing that chapter you've put on hold for several months. Whatever that victory is, achieve it and then strive for the next. Eventually, you will have accomplished what you've set out to do. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Keep Calm and Chill

One of the reasons I love where I'm living currently is that the people in general don't seem to waste a ton of energy worrying about things that aren't under their control. There's not a whole lot of "Mind your own business" phrases being thrown around because people are naturally doing it. They are calm, slow to conflict and drama, and overall moral. They don't worry about a whole lot because there's no point in doing so. They live their lives simply and as a result, there's not a whole of negative.
This doesn't mean negative things don't occur. The occasional accident. Death in the family. Sickness. But it doesn't last long because their lives are essentially complete. Sure, it would be nice to have more money or go on more vacations. But that's how everyone feels. As far as everyday living goes, there's peace and comfort, and really, that's all a human being needs. 
I love this life so much because of its simplicity. 
And it's part of the reason why I am in awe over how different my life was only a few short years ago, back when I was on the East Coast. Life was busier, people were a lot more irritable, and morality was kind of whimsical. People would have clearly defined notions on how they should live their life, and they demanded those notions to be respected, but then, funny enough, they would try to force their views on others, believing the way they lived was the perfect and right way. It irked them that people didn't live the way they do. 
Everything is just so different now.
Did you know that I used to belong to a super strict christian denomination? I still spend time with some people of the same faith, but it's so different now. They care about me, but they don't take it upon themselves to save my soul. They're too busy worrying about themselves and their walk with God. If I'm not in church, they don't think that I'm losing my way. They trust that I know what I'm doing, and if I am "backsliding" or "losing my mind" and the countless other things Christians tend to say..they leave it in God's hands.  I found it funny that in my old life, people would get so concerned when people around them missed church but then they would get ecstatic themselves whenever church was cancelled. So strange.
Life is so different. 
The most concerning things I have to worry about on a daily basis is whether I should write during the day or night, and checking the weather to see if I can go outside in the backyard. Especially if I can grill. I LOVE grilling. 
Sure, I can get depressed over the state of the world, but I can calmly do my part to help and then live my life. The world will never be perfect. There were tons of end of the world predictions for September and here we are in October. People are worried about Trump becoming president but I have faith in humanity (though they surprise me more and more). Do I need more money? Again, it would be nice, but it's not serious. I'm not stressed. I'm not trying to please others just so that they have peace of mind. I'm making more decisions that I know will better my life and conscience and not doing things because people think I'm supposed to be doing it. 
I guess I'm just keeping calm and chilling. 
And you should do it too.
See what I just did right there?