Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Release Excerpt: Better Than Dead

I have a new book out:


In the twin cities of Clayton and Callahan, Alex Cheradon and Devon Christian are two somewhat famous-ish private investigators. They’ve saved the twin cities a couple of times, stopped a werewolf apocalypse or two and are the best of friends, despite that short period of time when Devon went crazy and tried to kill Alex. But it’s all water under the proverbial bridge now.

Times are tough and cheating spouses and missing kids don’t always pay the bills. Of course, thanks to a mysterious, mystical gem embedded in his chest, Devon can go weeks, sometimes even months without eating. Unfortunately for Alex, though, all he has is a sharp wit and an awesome collection of hilariously ironic T-Rex t-shirts, neither of which do much to satisfy the grumbling in his stomach.

Things start to look up, though, when the citizens of Clayton City end up getting harassed by the kind of monsters that nightmares are made of, that Stephen King’s best friends with and that American Horror Story features on a weekly basis. Monster hunting may not be Alex and Devon’s specialty, but at least it’ll put food on the table.

Fortunately for them, before they have a chance to trade in their PI licenses for battle axes, a new slightly less nightmare-inducing case walks right through their front door:

Ernest Leonard Milton died the night before. Cops say it looks like natural causes. Ernest Leonard Milton’s will says otherwise. From beyond the grave he’s demanding that Alex and Devon investigate his death. But what are they looking for? Nobody knows and all the evidence points to it being an open and shut case. That is, until the bodies start piling up. 

Now in the course of investigating a simple dead body, Alex and Devon find themselves in the crosshairs of the twin cities most dastardly and deadly. Danger lurks around every corner, and creatures of the night under every rock. Perhaps they were too hasty with not purchasing those battle axes after all.


Here's a sample chapter:


2  
MY FAVORITE AUNT





“You know,” I grunted, as I was slammed into the kitchen cabinets again. The cheap formica crumbled under the impact, not that it made it hurt any less on me, “when I said I wanted to diversify, this…wasn’t what I…had in mind.”
Devon didn’t respond. Maybe he didn’t hear me. To be fair, I wasn’t sure I could even hear myself over the growling noises from the monster. I couldn’t tell if they were coming from its throat or its stomach.
The monster took another swipe at me, specifically my head, with its massive claw, topped with razor sharp tips. Despite the birdies that I swore were circling my head, I managed to duck out of the way and the monster’s claws made contact with part of the cabinet that was still intact, though that didn’t last. It was shredded on impact. I wasn’t sure if that spoke to either the poor craftsmanship of the cabinets or the fact that this beast had a seriously intense right hook.
The monster roared in an irritated fashion. As much as I cared for my personal wellbeing, I got it. Nobody liked to miss, not even weird devil hell beast monsters. Everybody had to take a little pride in their work.
I pivoted on my heels and made a mad dash out of the kitchen, aiming for going through the actual doorway this time instead of the counter passthrough.
The monster roared again and I flinched at what sounded like the remaining kitchen cabinets just being shredded to splinters.
“I said,” I repeated loudly, jumping into the living room, which was already trashed from the first time the monster tore through it.
“No need to repeat yourself. I heard you the first time.”
I paused and turned to find my partner, Devon Christian, standing exactly where I had left him only moments ago, leaning against the kid’s bedroom door. Only now he was snacking on an apple that I was eighty-five percent certain he hadn’t had on him when we got here.
There wasn’t so much as a scratch on him, which, of course, was actually pretty standard for him. His charcoal suit didn’t even look ruffled. The tie was still perfectly positioned. The flat, rectangular glasses he wore weren’t even askew.
“To be fair, though,” Devon continued, between apple bites, “you weren’t very specific on what you meant when you talked about diversifying our services.”
“You haven’t even moved,” I said. “You haven’t even moved.”
Devon frowned. “Alex, I have taken a solemn vow-“
“Oh. My. Goodness. This again? Really?”
“A solemn vow of partial non-violence.”
“I don’t think that it really applies to this situation,” I said.
“It applies to every situation,” he replied. “I can’t just blindly charge in and violently assault every situation.”
“You do it all the time!”
“I used to do it all the time,” he corrected me. “Now I’m committed to making sure I find non-violent solutions to problems with higher consciousness beings.”
“It’s a monster!”
“We don’t know what it is, Alex,” Devon replied. “All we know is that it attacked you.”
“Exactly!”
“That doesn’t make it a monster.”
“It makes it a threat!”
“Why are you shouting at me?” Devon asked. “Am I the one who’s trying to kill you right now?”
“Well, you’re certainly not the one who’s helping!”
“I just want to be certain.”
“Of what?!”
Devon sighed. “I feel like you’re not listening to me at all. Honestly, I’m not even sure why I bother.” He took another bite from his apple. “By the way, duck.”
I exhaled loudly. “What?”
“Duck,” he repeated and yanked one of the pictures from the wall, throwing it at me.
This was one of those expectations versus reality things. Which meant that, somehow, this was all my fault. Because when I imagined myself at thirty-three years old, running a private investigative agency with my best friend, what I didn’t bother to include was my best friend tossing picture frames at me while I was trying to subdue an actual monster. That was totally on me. One hundred percent. I had no problem spending entire days imagining what it would be like if Green Lantern and Black Widow teamed up and eventually had a baby. But this right here? This I couldn’t imagine. Totally my fault. Obviously. I wasn’t even going to argue about it.
The picture frame struck me in the abdomen and I doubled over. Well, maybe not one hundred percent entirely my fault. I mean, it wouldn’t be very nice of me to selfishly hog all the blame, would it? Isn’t it supposed to be better to give than to receive? I heard that somewhere.
As I doubled over I felt something fly over me.
I twisted around and caught the monster crashing into the bookcases on the far end of the living room.
I turned back to Devon. He shrugged. “I did say to duck.”
I shook my finger at him, but didn’t get the chance to say anything as the monster tackled me again.
A grunt of pain escaped me as the monster smashed me into the dining table. Its massive claw swiped at me, aiming for my face again.
“Devon!” I shouted, doing a terrible job holding back the massive claw.
“Okay, okay,” he said. “Look, I have some questions here we can ask it, to better establish its motives.”
“Its motives?” I grunted. “Are you serious right now?”
“I don’t really think this is an appropriate time for jokes, Alex,” he replied.
The gleaming, razor sharp-tipped claws were, like, millimeters from my face. Seriously, if I inhaled too much and puffed my cheeks out, I’d be gaining three new, and in my personal opinion, wholly unnecessary, holes in my face. Granted, they hadn’t actually made contact with my face, so maybe that accounted for something. Maybe. I mean, it was my face and I was the one who was exerting all the effort into keeping it from getting a Nightmare on Elm Street-style makeover, so I don’t know what I was complaining about. Any non-contact with razor sharp claws should be good. So why was I thinking I was doing a terrible job?
The monster on the other end of the massive claw roared and gross monster spittle splattered all over me. I want to say that some of it didn’t get into my mouth, but that would be a lie. It definitely got into my mouth and it was definitely gross.
I gagged a little.
(Well, a lot, really.)
It was a seven foot tall thing that was covered in tangles of hairs, boils and things that looked like heavily made up eyeballs. The monster reminded me of my Aunt Petunia. She was kind of gross looking and always had a really bad attitude if you woke her up before noon and/or she hadn’t had her first six glasses of wine. She, too, also had really sharp nails for some reason, and they were always a little too close to my face. Either this was a really strange coincidence or my memories of my childhood were seriously compromised.
My arms were starting to tremble and the razor sharp tips of the massive monster claw got just a little bit closer to my face. All that was missing was the stink of wine on its breath and suddenly I was thirteen years old again, suffering through an awkward and increasingly uncomfortable cha-cha dance routine with my Aunt Petunia.
“Ax!” I shouted.
“Ax?” Devon repeated. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“It means-” I cut myself off with a loud grunt as the monster doubled down, pushing its massive claw just a little closer to my face. “Ax!” I managed to croak out again.
“Ax?” Devon repeated again. “Ah. That’s right. We came here with an ax.”
And he wants me to think his short term memory is all hunky-dory.
“I have no idea where that is,” he said. “It was your responsibility. What am I always telling you about your weapons, Alex? Your weapon is an extension of your body. You are the only person who can be responsible for it. I can’t be responsible for it. Your dad can’t be responsible for it. Would you ask me to keep an eye on your little toe for you?” He paused, like I was actually going to answer. “No, I didn’t think so. Let this be an important lesson for you.”
I was going to kill him. I know that, technically, it wasn’t possible to kill him. But I was going to find a way to actually kill him and then I was going to do it.
The monster roared again, getting more spittle everywhere.
Assuming, of course, that I didn’t actually end up dead myself.
I winced, trying really hard to keep my mouth shut this time. But I was quickly becoming more concerned with the possibility that my Aunt Petunia may have actually reincarnated as this mindless devil monster. 
(That being said, I couldn’t actually remember if she was dead or not. I mean, it had been almost twenty years since I had last seen her. If she kept up her standard one, two, three bottles of wine a day, basic math said she had to be dead by now. Of course, basic math also, allegedly, said that I needed to keep more money in my bank account. So, I don’t know. Either I was bad at basic math or the universe was trying to tell me something.)
A loud crack signaled the breaking of the table Aunt Petunia had pressed me against. It collapsed underneath me and, suddenly, there was nothing holding me up anymore.
Oh boy.
The pressure from the monster sent me down to the ground. Momentum and gravity were about to bring my face and its claws closer together on a very physical level when I just simply let go of its hairy arm and quickly jumped to the side.
There was a loud, violent squish noise.
I turned around to find that two of the table’s legs, the only two that hadn’t toppled over, had shoved their way through Aunt Petunia’s head, coming out the other side covered in a weird pink goop. The monster twitched once or twice, just for creepy dramatic effect, and then stopped moving completely, much like my real Aunt Petunia after she finished her third bottle of wine.
I took a couple of deep breaths, trying to get my racing pulse back down to a rhythm that wasn’t going to end with my heart exploding out of my chest.
I pointed at Devon and tried to say something, but I couldn’t get the words out due to all the wheezing.
“I’d compliment you on a good job,” Devon said. “But, understandably, I feel conflicted about that. What with my vow of partial non-violence and not really establishing any kind of baseline for the creature.”
I shook my head. “You have one job.”
“I’d like to think I have more than one job.”
I shook my head again and held up my finger. “One job.”
“And it’s called being your partner.”
“It’s called: going in first.”
Devon finished off the apple and tossed the core into the mess that was the dead monster. “I know that I’m not the best with subtext and basic human emotions, but I feel like I’m sensing a little…anger from you right now? Is that right? Anger?”
“Only a little?”
“Did I do something wrong?”
“Did you do something?” I repeated. “Really?” I shook my head. “Yes, Devon, you did something wrong. Raise your hand if you have a gem that’s embedded in your chest that makes you indestructible.”
Devon didn’t do anything for a minute, and then he slowly raised his hand. “This is what I’m supposed to do, right? You said that because you wanted me to raise my hand, right? Because you’re not going to raise your hand. In fact, you cut your hand the other day on a post-it note. So, obviously, you’re not indestructible. Am I interpreting this correctly?”
I dropped my face into my hands. “I hate you so much right now, Devon.”
“You don’t mean that.”
“Right this minute,” I said, “I mean it with all my heart. I was about to get mauled by Aunt Petunia, who was going to redesign my basic facial structure, and you were just standing there, all nonchalant-like, eating an apple.” I sighed and put my hands on my hips.
“Aunt Petunia?”
I shook my head. “That’s not really the part you should be focusing on.”
“Didn’t I have an Aunt Petunia?”
“No, that was me.”
“Are you sure about that? I feel like I have this vague memory of an older woman, tucking me in at night and saying,” he pitched his voice a little higher, “‘Remember, my precious little Devon, Aunt Petunia loves you most of all and the other little children can go rot.’”
I just stared at him. Neither of us spoke for a moment. The only sound you could hear was the steady drip, drip of the pink goo from the monster onto the floor.
What?” I finally asked.
He shook his head. “Or maybe it was something I read on a greeting card.”
“Where are you shopping for cards?” I asked. “Miss Hannigan’s Factory Card Outlet?” I brushed my hands through my dark hair. “Wait, where did you even get the apple?”
Devon shrugged. “I found it lying around.”
“Oh, great,” I said. “Now you’re just helping yourself to food from our client’s homes.”
“Well, it’s not like it’s a new occurrence,” Devon replied. “I’ve been helping myself to food from our client’s homes for the last couple of months.”
I stared at him. “Seriously?”
“Why would I joke about this?”
“I’m trying to figure out why you would even do it,” I said. “Am I not feeding you enough?”
“I thought it would be an interesting character trait,” Devon said. “I felt like there was too much focus on my mental stability issues.”
“You hear voices.”
“I thought that pillaging snacks from our clients could help with that.”
I gagged, a disgusting odor reminiscent of a sour, honey scented electrical burn filling my nostrils. I waved my hand in front of my nose in a futile effort to keep it from making its way down my nasal passages. “Okay, well, the smell’s a little unnecessary. I mean, the pink goo, the boils, the hair and the creepy eyeballs all over its body, isn’t that enough?” I stretched and felt my back crack a couple of times. I twisted my hips from side to side. There was an aching pain that was already settling, like, all over my body. When I woke up tomorrow morning, I wasn’t going to be doing much of anything, including getting out of bed. My muscles were sending very loud and clear messages about that. “I feel like that should be enough. It’s a monster. A creepy, ugly monster. Who’s going to argue that? Nobody in their right mind, that’s who. Do we really need a disgusting death smell to cap it all off? At what point do we just say enough’s enough?”
“To be fair-” Devon started.
“Have I mentioned how much I hate it when you say that?” I interrupted.
“-I did tell you that it smelled before. In fact, I specifically mentioned that it had an odor of a soured beehive that had been electrocuted. And you ignored me.”
“Yes, because that’s the problem here,” I said.
“I don’t know why you’re upset-”
“Which is, of course, the other problem here.”
“-you did tell me to wait out here,” he finished, nodding at the kid’s room.
“Because, historically speaking, you terrify little children,” I reminded him.
“I don’t know about that.”
“I do,” I said.
“Children love me.”
“No, they don’t.”
“They don’t?”
“Why do you think they’re always screaming and running away from you?” I asked.
“Isn’t that how tiny humans express love?” Devon asked. “I assumed that was normal.”
“Normal,” I muttered, rubbing my hand across my beard. “Wait a minute, let me get this straight, you know, just so that we’re both on the same page here: You’re worried that people focus too much on the fact that you’re crazy-”
“Worried’s a bit of a stretch,” he interjected.
“-so you thought you’d start stealing food from our clients,” I continued, “and that would make you seem, what? Quirky?”
Devon snapped his fingers. “Yes. Thank you. That’s the word. I’ve been trying to think of it for the last couple of months and it literally escaped me every single time. Quirky. I’m trying to be more quirky.”
“Right.”
“Is it working?” He stepped away from the doorway and held out his hands. “Do I seem more quirky?”
I held up a finger. “Just a quick question before I answer that.”
“That seems reasonable.”
“Whose idea was this: your’s or the voices in your head?”
“Oh, obviously the voices,” Devon replied. “Do I really look like the kind of guy who worries about whether or not I should be more quirky?”
Before I had a chance to answer that, two more monsters jumped out of the kid’s bedroom.




Email your receipt for Better Than Dead to onestrayword@jasonkrumbine.com and I will give you, for FREE, the complete Alex Cheradon V1:



It contains the first three Alex Cheradon novels: Fruitbasket from Hell, A is for Amnesia, B is for Bullet and Little People, Big Crimes. That’s three full size novels for FREE. That’s a pretty sweet deal. Remember, all you have to do is purchase Better Than Dead for $0.99, email a copy of the receipt at onestrayword@jasonkrumbine.com and you get three novels for free.

Monday, October 10, 2016

5 Essentials for Every Grim Reaper

Congratulations! You’ve passed your test, you’ve beaten the odds, the Council of Reapers has officially certified you, and now you’re a fully licensed grim reaper! Before you head out on your first soul bounty, here are five things that are absolutely essential for every grim reaper:

The Perfect Handbag
You’ll want something that’s not too big, but not too small. It addition to your tools of the trade, there’s a variety of other things you’ll need to be carrying around on a daily basis. Being a grim reaper takes you to all sorts of interesting places and allows you to meet all sorts of fascinating people. Unfortunately, it can also take you to a lot of disgusting places and you can meet a lot of disgusting dead people. It’s best to have a little bit of everything on hand for every occasion, from perfume to extra lip gloss to hand sanitizer. Also, it doesn’t hurt to carry around some breath mints and an emergency tooth brush. Nobody wants to be collected by a grim reaper who hasn’t brushed their teeth in over twenty-four hours because they’ve been too busy.




 A Cool Car

Some might say it’s not cool to be seen driving a dead granny to the afterlife, but that’s a problem that’s easily solved: Get a cool car. It doesn’t matter what dead soul you’ve got in that backseat, everything looks better when it’s riding in a classic. Convertibles highly recommended.


A Good Sense of Timing
You don’t want to show up too soon or too late. How awkward would it be if you arrived to pick up Jack’s soul and Jack’s not dead yet? Egg on your face. Or what if you miss grabbing that dead guy at the nursing home and he ends up haunting the place for several days before you finally get there? Newsflash: old people are easily scared to death. You’re supposed to be gathering the dead, not making more of them.

A Sense of Style
Don’t walk around in a hooded robe. Just don’t. You’re perpetuating an ancient stereotype. Plus, it’s tacky. You’re going to be the last living person these poor souls ever see, why not send them out on a high note? Of course, just because you’re trying to be stylish doesn’t mean you can’t be sensible. A sexy pair of wedges and a pair of faded skinny jeans are going to be just as effective as a little black dress and four-inch stilettos. Remember, you’re representing Death, you need to look sexy and sharp.


Gloves
Easily the most important thing on this list. Seriously, you’re going to be touching more than a few dead bodies: Everyone from the old guy who passed away peacefully in his sleep, to the knucklehead who accidentally cut off his own head. Dead bodies might be icky, but it’s part of the job. Also, do you know how many diseases they carry? You’re a grim reaper, not a candidate to get reaped. Besides, no dead body is worth messing up the perfect nails. Glove it up.




Want some more tips and tricks of the trade? Be sure to read the entire Reapers in Heels:



Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Krumbine Adoption Adventure



This year my wife and I celebrated our 9th(!) year of marriage. 

When we first got married back in 2007, we were determined to set aside the first few years of our marriage just for us. We had both been looking forward to marriage for so long, we wanted to enjoy it. We wanted to take the time to get to know each other as husband and wife and build that strong foundation for our marriage to thrive on.

Sometime around our third anniversary we began to entertain the idea of parenthood. I don’t think it’s TMI to say we did that classic ‘Well, we’re not exactly trying, but we’re not not trying’ thing. In addition to this cliche style of family planning, my wife and I were also discussing adoption. It was a discussion that we had for almost as long as we were trying to get pregnant.

Donna, my wife, had had a heart for adoption even before we were married. She had done a lot of research about the abandoned girls in China and felt like it was something that God was putting on her heart. She knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that no matter who she married, she and her husband would be parents to an abandoned child from China.

For me, however, the call came later, a few years into our marriage. I wasn’t opposed to the idea of adoption, it was simply one I had never considered. In my mind, any children I would have with my wife would be biological. But over the first few years of our marriage, however, God slowly worked on my heart, opening it to father the fatherless.

So last August, after several years of discussion and research, Donna and I pulled the trigger and started the adoption process!

At no point was there any question of where we were going to adopt from. It was always China. As we began to research, we learned that most of the children eligible to be adopted have some form of disability or medical problems. We spent weekends reading up on many of these conditions. But even then, there was no doubt, no hesitation. We didn’t change our minds. There may be cheaper options, easier options, but we know that this is where God has placed our children. How could we adopt from anywhere else?

As we dug into the early adoption process I was overwhelmed by all this information about China, orphans, and building your family. So to process some of this information, I funneled it back into my work, specifically in superhero series titled Star Girl. Orphans in superhero fiction are nothing new. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Robin, Supergirl, Impulse, I think you get the idea. Incorporating the adoption story into Star Girl’s story wasn’t necessarily an original idea, but it was something that I was now experiencing and I wanted to explore that experience in a way that was most familiar to me: through storytelling.

At the time, my wife and I assumed that we would probably get matched with a little girl and I thought: how perfect would it be that I would have a book that was essentially about her!

God, however, had other plans and shortly after we turned in our adoption application, very shortly, we were matched with a little boy, Fu Gong:




So, yeah, an unexpected surprise. But a welcomed surprise nonetheless. After endlessly talking about it for years, it was finally going to happen. We were going to be parents.

But little Fu Gong wasn’t the only the surprise God had in store for us. Shortly after getting matched with our boy, Donna and I discovered that we were pregnant! In Oct 2016 we would meet our little girl, Charlotte Lily Krumbine. The pregnancy was not without its difficulties, however, as Doona was quickly diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum and we found ourselves faced with challenges that neither one of us ever anticipated having to deal with.

However, God wasn’t done quite yet.

Exactly ten days after discovering we were pregnant with Charlotte, received word from CCAI (the adoption agency we are working with) that we had gotten matched with another little boy from China:




So, here's the thing. Early on in the adoption process we decided to leave it all in God’s hands. We treated it much like you would treat getting pregnant. We did our research on the medical conditions that many of the children in China are diagnosed with and determined what we would be able to handle, and the rest we left up to God. We didn’t specify any gender. We said that we would be open to two children, which is the max you can adopt at once, and that we would take any age. But we had been advised early on that it was rare to get matched with two children and so we adjusted our exceptions accordingly. But we always knew there was a possibility of a second match.

His name is Sun Yu. He has the same medical condition as Fu Gong and even lives in the same province. He two years old and he and Fu Gong actually share the same birth month.

Suddenly, nine years later, we were a family of five!

But it has not been without challenges. In addition to Donna’s pregnancy complications, we’ve run into some money issues. Turns out adoption, specifically international adoption, is expensive. Like, really expensive. When it’s all said and done, we can expect to have paid around $43,000, maybe a little more, for our two sons.

Fundraising as been a beast. Thanks to the generosity of friends, family, and a few devoted fans, we’ve managed to get through a huge chunk of our pre-China visit fees:

1.       Application fee - $250
2.       First program fee - $4400 
3.       USCIS filing and fingerprints – $890
4.       Dossier preparation – approx.. $450-$900.
5.       CCCWA-WCP fee -  $80  for each child
6.       Second program fee – $3000
7.       CCCWA fee - $1390 per child

That’s $12,380 that we’ve raised so far! It’s amazing. Quite truthfully, it’s a straight up miracle considering how close we’ve been to losing our boys these last couple of months.

But there’s still plenty of expenses to look forward to:

1.       Third program fee –$3100 -  at time of LOA (Letter of Acceptance)
2.       CCCWA post adoption translation fee - $360 per child  – at time of LOA
3.       Post adoption refundable deposit - $450 – pre-travel
4.       Visa to enter China – $140 plus courier fee -  pre-travel
5.       U.S Domestic and International Airfare - $1200-$1900 by coach per adult plus $200 return lap ticket for each child under 2 {full price for child over 2}- pre-travel
6.       In China travel and Accommodations - $3500-$4000
7.   Adoption Registration & Notarization - $400-$800 – in China
8.   Children’s passports - $100-$150 each – in China
9.   Orphanage fee- Approx $5700-5900 per child – in China or wired pre-travel
10.   Food - $700-800 per couple – in China
11.   Child Physical & Photo - $130-$150 per child – in China
12.   Child U.S. Entry Visa - $325 plus wire fee per child – in China

That’s another $30,600 we need to raise before our family is complete and with a newborn on the way, I don’t know what kind of fundraising we’ll be able to do for the next couple of months. 

As I mentioned before, and as some of you already know, I’m an author. I’ve written over 40 books in the 7 years or so. Nothing’s been particularly successful, but with my Star Girl series I feel as though I’ve composed something that’s about as mainstream as it can get. Superheroes are huge now, bigger than ever. Five of the twenty highest grossing movies of all time are superhero films. The CW alone airs four different superhero shows, they’re devoting over half of their’s primetime viewing to superheroes. The clothes racks at Target are filled with superheroes. Superheroes are everywhere now. And I think the Star Girl books meet a need that people don’t even know is there. It’s a female-led series, staring a young girl who’s adopted from China, dealing with not only life as a new adult, but life as an emerging global hero. This is a series that's equal parts super heroics and YA drama.




Writing is something that I feel passionate about. I feel like it’s one of the few things I’m genuinely good at. I’m not particularly handy. I can't build anything. I can't not hang a picture crooked. I have zero understanding about how plumbing or electricity works. I don’t know anything about cars, I barely even remember get the oil changed every three months. And I’m not very good with math.  

But, I think I've got a pretty decent handle on this writing thing.

I believe it’s important that we find ways to incorporate our gifts, our skill sets, into our lives. In this case, I’ve been looking for way to use my gift for writing to help my family.

As Star Girl has her roots in not only my love of comics, but also this adoption process, it seems only appropriate that I utilize her to make my little family whole. Every dollar I make from Star Girl goes directly to the adoption. Right now, there are three Star Girl books available in print and for your Kindle:


    


Buy one of those books, or all three, and you’re not only getting a fun read, but you’re contributing to bringing a family together, you’re helping save two little boys. You might say, if you’ll pardon a little sappiness, that by purchasing these books, you’re being a superhero in your own right.

In addition, I’m offering an autographed set of all three paperbacks for $45. There’s a Paypal link below that’ll kick you to the order page for that.

If you’ve already read the Star Girl books—Thank You!—or if superheroes aren’t your thing, please share this post with your friends on Facebook, Tumbler, Twitter, or whatever preferred method of social media you use. Perhaps you know of a friend who loves to read and loves superheroes? These books make for a great gift, in Kindle or paperback. Or maybe you’re just looking for something to distract you from life, Star Girl can help you with that, too. 

I cannot imagine how God is going to bring my little family together. The money we’ve raised so far has come from the places we least expect it, from the people who have the least to give. My wife and I are beyond grateful for every thing these people have done. We are touched and humbled by their gestures of faith. Despite this, though, the remaining funds that need to be raised seems almost insurmountable. I don’t know how we’re going to do it. But then, I don’t know how we managed to come this far. I don’t know what God has planned.

What I do know is that I’m a pretty decent writer. What I do know is that I can take the gifts that God has blessed me with and use them to the best of my ability to bring my family together. What I can do is reach out and share my work with people.

Beyond that, the rest is in God’s hands.

If you'd to follow along with our adventure, visit our GoFundMe page.



Get Your Signed Edition of Star Girl!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Adoption Update

So, those of you who are subscribed to my newsletter are familiar the adoption process my wife and I have been going through. We began this journey a year ago now and we were actually matched with a child very quickly Thanksgiving of 2015 and a second one shortly thereafter. I won’t go into the whole thing, but you can find the entire story, with all it’s ups and downs, here.


Anyway, as you might recall from my last update, we ran into some money problems:

I don’t know what’s going to happen. We have a deadline, Sept 13th, for when our dossier needs to be submitted to China. In order to submit it, though, we need a little over two thousand dollars and I just don’t know where that money is going to come from. We’re also facing the possibility of, even if we raise the two grand, if it’s been this hard to raise that, what happens when the remaining thirty grand comes due to bring our boys home?
I never thought, in a million years, that we would ever get this close only to lose them.

That was two weeks ago and, oh my, what a difference two weeks makes. Thanks to my mom’s generosity and the generosity of others, we raised a little over $3,000 since then. We’re going to just barely meet the deadline for the dossier. As I'm writing this we are, quite literally, scrambling to get our paperwork together. 


I’m just amazed. Two weeks ago I was facing the prospect having to let these two precious little boys go and now it's starting to look like we might actually get to be a family after all. 


But, while we’ve managed to meet this financial deadline, there’s still almost another $35,000 needed to bring my sons home. Sometimes it feels a little 'one step forward, two steps back.' I’m excited to be a dad in a way that I never thought I would be. It’s not something that I can easily put into words right now. However, this adoption has been a constant roller coaster of emotions. For every challenge we overcome, there’s almost immediately another to take it’s place. It’s infuriating and exciting all at once. My wife and I have to remind ourselves that this adoption is going to occur in God's time, according to His plan. It's just frustrating when my expectations don't match with God's timetable.


As I’ve mentioned before, my Star Girl series has it’s roots not only in my love of comics, but this adoption process. So it seems only appropriate that Star Girl carries some of the responsibility of making our little family whole. Every dollar I make from Star Girl is going directly to the adoption. Right now, there are three Star Girl books available in print and for your Kindle:

    



Buy one of those books, or all three, and you’re not only getting a fun read, but you’re contributing to bringing a family together, you’re helping save two little boys. You might say, if you’ll pardon a little sappiness, that by purchasing these books, you’re being a superhero in your own right.


In addition, I’m offering a signed set of all three paperbacks for $45. There’s a Paypal link below that’ll kick you to the order page for that.


Six months ago my sister-in-law and her husband had their first child. In fact, the day my nephew was born, my wife and I discovered we were pregnant with our little girl. It's been a roller coaster all around since day one.


Lately, when we meet my sister-in-law and my nephew for lunch, I feel this weird little pang in my heart. I had a hard time identifying what it was for a little while, probably because given the circumstances two weeks ago, I found it easier to just not think about it. But as much as I love this little guy, when I see him and see how amazingly adorable he is and how much his parents love him, I feel sad.


There are these two little boys I call my sons who I've never met, who I know so little about, who change so rapidly every time we get new pictures they're almost unrecognizable, and I find myself missing them. I miss them even though I don't even know them. And I feel sad for every day that goes by that they don't get the same love and attention that my little nephew does. I feel sad that I'm not there to take care of them, to give them a hug, to teach them their colors and shapes, to experience the struggles of potty training them, or to even have them wake me up way too early in the morning.

This October our daughter will be born and I'm so excited to meet her. She's a little miracle that my wife and I never thought was going to happen. But I know that my family won't really be complete until all my children are home.


As always, please keep us in your prayers.



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