Tag Archives: Justis Fearsson

Justis Fearsson Journal Entry — September 23: A #HoldOnToTheLight post

#HoldOnToTheLightWhen Gail Martin invited me to participate in the #HoldontotheLight campaign, I leapt at the chance and thought immediately of Justis Fearsson, the lead character in my contemporary urban fantasy, The Case Files of Justis Fearsson (Spell Blind, His Father’s Eyes, Shadow’s Blade, all from Baen Books). Every book in the series deals with mental health issues, and the magic system itself is build around them. Jay Fearsson is a weremyste. He’s a sorcerer all the time, but every month on the full moon he lapses into temporary insanity and his magic strengthens. Gradually, these moon phasings will drive him permanently insane, as they did his father, also a weremyste.

Magic in Jay’s world is known, but stigmatized, much as mental health problems are in our world, and Jay not only suffers from his own magic-induced illness, he is also a caretaker for his Dad. Magic, of course, is a device, a way into these issues that allows me to write books that are entertaining and edifying at the same time. In the piece that follows, Jay reflects on grappling with his own demons, just as people I love — friends and family — deal with theirs on a daily basis. I wish all of you strength and good health, and I hope that this piece, and our group efforts to #HoldontotheLight, help in some small way. — DBC

*****
If Billie and I ever have kids, and any of them grow up to be weremystes, like me, I’ll tell them about this, my second birthday.

A person can’t be a weremyste without understanding mental illness. Can’t be done. Every month on the full moon, and the nights immediately before and after, we lose our minds, even as our magic strengthens. That the insanity is temporary does nothing to soften the impact of those moon phasings. And over the course of time — no surprise — subjecting our minds to that magical meat grinder does permanent damage.

My dad is a weremyste, a burned-out old sorcerer who’s subject to delusions, hallucinations, and all the rest. I look at him, and I see more than a man with my pale gray eyes and tapered jaw. I see me in thirty years. I see my future, and it’s not pretty.

There isn’t one of us who hasn’t put something to his or her head in the middle of a phasing. A bottle of cheap bourbon, a crack pipe, a pistol. I’ve never tried crack, but the other two . . . Yeah, I’ve drunk my way through a lot of full moons, and I’ve rested the muzzle of my Glock against my temple more times than I care to count. It’s a miracle that I’m still alive.

But what set September 23, 2007 apart from all the other times was that it didn’t fall on a full moon. We were still three nights shy of the first night of the phasing.

It wasn’t temporary insanity than put the pistol in my hand. I don’t have that excuse.

I didn’t have Billie in my life back then. I was new to the Phoenix police force and really wasn’t holding it together too well, what with trying to take care of my dad and stumbling from one phasing to the next. I couldn’t confide in my partner, Kona, because at that point she didn’t know I was a weremyste, and I wasn’t ready to confess all. And I was staring down the barrel of yet another phasing.

That night, I’d had enough. I was weary to my very soul. I couldn’t imagine weathering another full moon, much less a lifetime of them. I was filled with dread and self-loathing and I just wanted a way out, no matter how extreme or final. I wouldn’t say I was at my best or even fully cogent. But as I say, I didn’t have the excuse of the moon phasing. This was me, unvarnished, face to face with the worst of my demons.

So, why am I still alive? Why am I able to celebrate today as a second “birthday”? I wish I could point to some heart-warming epiphany that made me put down the Glock and pull my shit together. I wish I would say that I thought of how much I love my father and knew I couldn’t leave him alone, or that I realized God loved me and so understood my self-worth and my place in the world. But I don’t think life works that way. It certainly didn’t for me.

No, it was darker than that. I imagined Kona finding my body. I imagined her having to drive out to Wofford, where my Dad has his trailer, and explain to him what had happened. What I had done. I tried to piece together that conversation in my head; I thought of her fighting through his dementia, making him understand that I was dead, a suicide.

Okay, maybe it was that I love him. But there were no angels signing, no fanfare of trumpets, nothing beautiful or dramatic or romantic about it. I chose not to kill myself because I wasn’t willing to put the people I care about through the pain of dealing with my mess.

Only later on, a couple of months down the road, did I come to appreciate how close I had come to  doing something unspeakable. And by that time, Kona and I were getting along better. I had started to confide in her. Namid, the Runemyste who guides my magical training, had come into my life and forced me to see my powers as something other than a burden. I’d started to work on improving my relationship with my Dad and, lo and behold, on those rare days when he was coherent, he responded by opening up a little.

In other words, life got better. Not turn-my-world-around better. But it was progress nevertheless. The phasings still sucked. There was no way around that. And yet, even they weren’t quite so bad. I managed to get through more and more of them without reaching for a fifth of Jack, or wondering where I’d left my weapon.

My second birthday didn’t Change Everything. Really it changed nothing. All that happened was I hit bottom and managed to keep myself from pulling the trigger. That was enough, though. Because we get better. We learn to cope. We love and we live and we fight the battles that need to be fought.

I don’t have a lot of answers. When my son or daughter wrestles with his or her demons, I won’t have any magical solutions for them — pun intended. I’ll just be able to tell them what I learned all those years ago. Every day we refuse to give up, is another day we win.

*****
About the campaign:

#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Home for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors and blog posts, or reach a media contact, go to
https://www.facebook.com/groups/276745236033627/

Today on the Blog Tour: Nemesis and Protagonist

One of the things that the first book did not do — because it wasn’t necessary to the plot — was to set up a nemesis for Jay Fearsson who would outlast the narrative of this particular novel. I mean someone like Leo Pellisier in Faith’s Jane Yellowrock novels, or Sephira Pryce in the Thieftaker Chronicles, or the rival powers in C.E. Murphy’s Negotiator series: a character who represents both danger and opportunity for the protagonist, someone who challenges my hero, who threatens him, but who also relates to his darker side.

As I say, there was no room in the first book for such a character. But in the second there is. His name is Jacinto Amaya . . . .

The 2015 Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour resumes today, after a brief hiatus, with a post at the Magical Words blog site. The post is about creating a long-term nemesis for our protagonist and what that can to infuse energy into our stories. I use His Father’s Eyes, the second volume in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, as a case study for this. I hope you find it helpful. You can find the post here.

Release Day For HIS FATHER’S EYES!!

His Father's Eyes, by David B. Coe (Jacket art by Alan Pollock)Today is release day for His Father’s Eyes, second book in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, the contemporary urban fantasy that I write under my own name for Baen Books. To mark the occasion, the 2015 Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour makes several stops.

First, I am back visiting again with Faith Hunter, and this time Jay Fearsson, the hero of my series is interviewed by Jane Yellowrock, the kickass heroine of Faith’s New York Times bestselling series. Not only that, but fans of her books should know that Beast makes an appearance as interviewer as well. You can find the interview here. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.

I am also back at the Magical Words blog site, with a post about the new book and all that it means to me. This was a difficult and cathartic book for me to write, and the post touches on why. You can find it here.

And finally, Joelle Reizes has been kind enough to host me for her Five Questions in Five Minutes feature. You can find our Q&A here.

So help me celebrate release day. And if you’re interesting in finding a copy of the novel, you can use the links on this page. Thank you!

Plea For Calm Revisited, and an Interview with Justis Fearsson

“In the end, I return again to the point I made in my previous post. We are writers, blessed with the ability and opportunity to craft stories for a living. We should not be fighting over award ballots. I consider many of the people on both sides of this fight friends and respected colleagues. I like them. I like their work. I know from talking to them that they have a lot more in common with one another than this brouhaha would suggest. It is time for all of us to put away our knives, and take up our pens once more.”

I have two new posts up today on the 2015 Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour. The first, excerpted above, is at Black Gate. It is called “Enough, part II,” and it is a continuation of the call for cooler heads to prevail in the Hugos nomination kerfuffle that I began at Black Gate two weeks ago. You can find the new post here.

The second, which appears at Fantasy Book Critic, is a lighter post, a character interview I “conducted” with Justis Fearsson, the lead character in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, which I write for Baen. The second book in that series, His Father’s Eyes, comes out tomorrow. You can find this post here.

The Blog Tour Today

Interested in seeing how characters might wreak their revenge on the writer who creates them? Then have I got a post for you! The 2015 Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour makes several stops today, including one at the SciFiChick.com, where I interview Ethan Kaille and Justis Fearsson, the lead characters from the Thieftaker Chronicles and The Case Files of Justis Fearsson. The two of them make it clear to me that they’re not entirely satisfied with how I’ve been running their lives. You can find the post here.

The second post, which was originally supposed to go up yesterday (things don’t always go as they’re supposed to on these virtual tours) can be found at All Things Urban Fantasy. It describes the political transformation of Ethan Kaille through the books of the Thieftaker Chronicles. Ethan started as a Loyalist, an opponent of Samuel Adams and the  Sons of Liberty, something that bothered some of my readers. But his political evolution is a central theme in the series. You can read more about it here.

I am also at the blog of my friend and fellow writer, Bradley Beaulieu. Brad, the author of Twelves Kings in Sharakhai and The Winds of Khalokovo, is a terrific writer in his own right, and has been kind enough to interview for the blog tour. You can find the interview here.

Finally, my friend Karen Miller, a wonderful writer and former bookstore owner, who I first met when I lived in Australia, hosts me for an interview on her blog. You can find the Q&A here.