Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Closed and Open Doors - A CODA Experience

Recently a good friend of mine lost her husband. They are both Deaf, and their hearing daughter (fellow CODA) is another friend of mine. Both mother and daughter are obviously grieving over their loss of someone so special and meaningful to them. Even though I had never met this man, I am saddened for them. ELF and I went to his wake to pay our respects, and seeing the two of them their with the pain in their eyes really affected me. I went through this with my father just over four years ago.

Part of me still grieves the loss of my father, and it makes me want to go on and on about it from time to time. I wish to avoid that here because I don't want to take anything away from what my friends are going through. But there was one part of it I wanted to talk about. This kind of goes back to one of my earliest posts, where I had mentioned that losing my father was closing a door to the Deaf world for me. A fellow CODA from facebook wanted me to elaborate on it, and now seems like the best time to do so.

Growing up, my exposure to the Deaf community was through my parents. I learned to sign before I could speak, went to all the Deaf club meetings with my family, and know all of their friends and children. It was an experience that so many hearing people in this world never get, and I consider myself to be blessed for that experience. It has taught me a lot about the world.

When my father died, the door that he opened for me to the Deaf community swung wide open for about one week. I helped my mother contact so many of his friends through video phone (my mother has an aversion to newer technology, and still uses a TTY to make phone calls - for those in the know I can see your head nodding "I understand") to inform them of the terrible news. Many of his friends came by my parents' place to visit that week, share stories, and give us copies of their pictures of him for us to display at the funeral home. I still hold on to all those pictures and will never get rid of them. The week finally ended with his service, and the number of Deaf friends who came to say goodbye nearly overwhelmed me. What a community, despite the physical distances from each other.

When the reception had ended, they all went their separate ways, and the door was closed. I still talk on occasion with a couple of his friends, which is nice, but it isn't the same. We don't talk about him even when we want to, but catching up with each other is still enjoyable. But it isn't the same. Natural feelings of talking with a loved one so close to you disappears and cannot be replaced by their friends. Instead, what you get is the reminder that who you really want is no longer there, and suddenly that door seems very close to your face, as if it was just shut on you again. I don't think it's a feeling that will ever go away when I see his friends. So there is my closed door.

As for my mother, she is no longer connected with the Deaf community. I won't get into the reasons behind it, but suffice it to say, her door to the Deaf community is closed to me. My only expereince with anything Deaf through her are the trace whispers that she herself possesses. I'm a little bit bitter about that, but thats a story for my next book, to be sure.

When I grew up and moved away from home, I really lost almost all contact with Deaf people for a while. Aside from family visits, I ran into other Deaf people randomly. It took several years before I found a job in a school for the deaf. It was there that I had opened my own door to the Deaf community again. What's nice about this is that it is a different group of Deaf people being so physically far away from my parents. Nearly all of them have never met my parents or recognize their names. Being accepted into their community is something I hold dear to my heart, and when I really stop to think about it, I owe this to my parents. Without them, my path in life may very well likely have never crossed with paths of Deaf people in any meaningful way, and I never would have had an opportunity to be in their world. Another great part of this particular local community is that because my parents aren't known here, I feel like this is my community. I think you understand what I mean.

So my father's door was closed. True. But because of my parents and what they gave to me, I was able to find other doors that cannot be closed by anyone but myself. And for my fellow CODA who lost her father, the same is true for her. I know she will enjoy that gift from them for the rest of her life. Perhaps all this is true for most of us CODAs who have lost one or both of our parents. Doors close and others open, and if others havent opened for you CODAs despite your longing for it to happen, all I can say is go find one. If you miss what's in the next room, go open a door. Your Deaf parents gave you the ability to find them on your own. I promise you won't regret it.

A good night to everyone, more posts to come....

R. M.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lair of the White Wyrm Review/Lea Ryan Author Interview

A little while ago I finished reading the book "Lair of the White Wyrm" by Lea Ryan.  I decided I wanted to give it a review, as I think her writing shows some promise. Before I do that, however, let me give a short description of the book. Let's see if I can do this without giving anything away.
The story is about a young recovering drug addict named Eric, who just lost his best friend to the same addiction. In an attempt to get his life together so he can start down a decent path, he has enrolled into a college photography program and moved in with his uncle, Nate. Nate gives him room and board at Ducat Tower in exchange for maintenance help. Ducat Tower itself overlooks an old closed down mine that operated decades earlier. Nate introduces him to Chelsea, another resident of the tower.
Ducat Tower and its mine hold some paranormal mysteries that Eric and Chelsea soon discover, and everything goes a bit crazy from there. With the help of a psychic and an unlikely ally, Eric must find a way to save his own life.
That's the best description I have right now, without giving away too much of the story, anyway. While reading "Lair of the White Wyrm", it was easy to picture this as one of the latest movies on the Scy Fy channel, or as an hour long Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Tales from the Darkside, or Twilight Zone prodigy. It's not bad if you like that sort of thing. The story itself, although not short, was significantly shorter than your average length novel. Is that the criteria for a novella? Who knows? This amateur doesn't, for sure.
I enjoyed the way in which Lea Ryan dug into the character of Eric. It really felt as though it was going in the right direction, but it still left me wanting to know a little bit more about him. As for the other characters, their smaller bits of development suffice for the length of the story, though I cannot help but wonder if a little more time devoted to some of them would help round the tale out a bit more.
As for the storyline itself, I found it to be somewhat predictable. Early on in the book I found myself saying, "I know how this subplot is going to turn out", and I was right more often than not. The ending itself, however, was not so easily predicted, though I thought it would be. Some of it I nailed, while the rest was actually a scenario I had not thought of, and that made it just a bit more satisfactory for me, and worth the read.
As I understand it, Lea Ryan has written just three books, which makes me believe that her future writings have a lot of promise, as I mentioned earlier. I like her taste for science fiction, and how she used a modern setting. I am now interested in reading more of her works. For me, I save a 5 star rating for only the books that can blow me away. Those are pretty rare to find. If I give a 4 star, it means I really thought it was good. If it's 3 stars, I'd say it was just ok. For Lea Ryan, I am giving this 3 and a half. It was definitely better than ok, and that's not a bad thing for a relatively new author.
Lea Ryan Interview
I had the opportunity to ask some questions of Lea Ryan, and here's what she had to say.
1)    Q: How many books have you published so far and what are their names?

A: I’ve published three books so far. Babylon Dragon was my first book. I spent four years writing it and rewriting it. The story is about a Babylonian daemon who seeks revenge on God and humans. A warrior in Purgatory has to stop her from ripping away the boundaries between the mortal world, Purgatory, and Heaven.

My second book was Destined for Darkness. It’s a paranormal romance about a young woman who inherits a Victorian mansion from her grandmother. She finds out that she’s a witch, specifically a ‘Fate’, which means that she’s able to influence destiny. She falls in love with her mentors’ adopted son who she has known for years without really knowing him, if that makes sense.

Destined for Darkness is the first book in my Fate Binds trilogy. The second book, Devil in the Branch, will come out this summer.

And, of course, Lair of the White Wyrm just came out.

2)    Q: Have you always been into the sci-fi genre?

A: My dad was always into sci-fi, movies and TV shows, which is what got me interested in it. I can remember watching Planet of the Apes with him and Star Wars, of course. Our whole family had a routine of ordering pizza and watching Star Trek Next Gen. Sci-fi has always been present in my life. I recently started watching Doctor Who and have worked through all of the David Tenant years.

3)    Q: What other genres of books do you like to read, and what authors have inspired you the most to create your own works?

A: I read the same kinds of books I write, usually. I have authors I think of as my unwitting mentors: Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Dean Koontz all make me strive to be better. They’re amazing.

James Patterson and Janet Evanovich remind me to be entertaining and not take every little piece of the writing so seriously.

4)    Q: I assume that gaining new readers and fans are one of your goals for this blog tour, but what else do you hope to gain from it?

A: Yes, new readers and fans are very important. But I have also met some really nice bloggers. There seems to be a real sense of community among independent authors who blog. We all sort of prop each other up, I think, by passing on hints and guest posts, etc.  

5)    Q: As for Lair of the White Wyrm, I liked the fact that I could see this as a modern Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode. Is that how you envisioned it or was it something altogether different?

A: Thanks! I didn’t envision it quite that way, but what you said does make sense. When I look back at the story and all the psychological weirdness going on, I do see the similarities. I grew up on Twilight Zone and Hitchcock, so it wouldn’t surprise me that some of that influence filtered through. I’m quite happy about that, actually.

6)    Q: Reading Lair of the White Wyrm has interested me in your other books. What can I expect to find when I read them?

A: I hope you find compelling stories with colorful characters, and I hope that you’re entertained.

"Sometimes when you run from your problems, they follow you."

The book is "Lair of the White Wyrm" by Lea Ryan. Please go check it out! The links are below and the book cover image at the bottom of this page will link you to Lea's book page on

R. M.

Available on:



Limited Print Edition on Lulu:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Allesandra's Bequest Gets Reviewed / Lea Ryan Interview coming March 12!

Hello to everyone. I am very excited that Allesandra's Bequest was reviewed by Charina SM on her blog. I am very encouraged to see such a positive review, and it reassures me that creating this short story narrative wrap around the lyrics was the correct way to go. Here's what she wrote;

Allesandra is a woman that takes her own life at a very desperate moment. Throughout the book we get to see what drove her to that point and the struggles that she and her husband went through. We also get to see what happens to the ones left behind after a tragedy. This book deals with a lot of strong topics. It talks about child abuse, domestic violence, rape, depression, and suicide.
        When I first started reading this book I didn’t know what to expect. I was very nervous because not only was I stepping away from my reading comfort zone; I also never read anything by R. M. Fraser before. I had a bittersweet surprise. Bitter, because the book was so sad that it made me cry near the end. Sweet, because I loved the way it was written. To be honest I didn’t expected to like it this much.
        The book has very little dialogue. You can probably find about five lines or less during the whole book. But to make up for the missing dialogue, the book has these beautiful lyrics in between the paragraphs on each chapter. I never read anything like it before. I was very surprise that I understood every word without problem. I usually have a hard time with poems when they are in English.
        I really like this book. It is a very sad, very strong book, from the beginning. But I loved the way the lyrics told the story so well. I made me think of what music is really about. Music tells a story. Music shows someone’s feelings. If the author made a CD with all the songs from the book, I’ll buy it. I can honestly say that R. M. Fraser just won a new fan.
Well there you have it. I read through some of her other reviews, and she is a very good critic. Charina isn't afraid to say what needs to be said. I think that's a service to every writer out there because honesty can only make us better writers. If you would like to read her reviews, or follow her blog for yourself, here is the link;

In more news, I am happy to announce that Lea Ryan, author of Lair of the White Wyrm, will be the subject of my next blog post on Monday, March 12 (Will be posted either late that Sunday night, or Monday evening). I have reviewed the book, and will give that along with an interview with Lea Ryan herself. This is all part of her blog tour, and I am happy to be a part of it myself. Until then, everyone have a good week. And please don't forget to go to during "Read an E-Book Week" (March 4-10). There are some great deals to be had. So far, I think I have downloaded 13 new ebooks that I can't wait to get into.

R. M.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Read an E-Book Week Coming Up!

Hello to all,

I just wanted to take a minute to let everyone know that March 4-10 is "Read an E-Book Week". Many ebook authors are putting up their ebooks for free or at discounts with coupon codes. I can't wait to check them out and see what I can find. I am challenging all of you readers out there to do the same. Go to for discounted and free ebooks. My ebooks will be there as well, and you can find them at these links:

One Way Out, Always (Allesandra's Bequest - Chapter One)
Free with code RE100 :
Shadow Boxer

$1.00 with code REW50 :
Allesandra's Bequest

If you don't have an ereader, you can still use your pc by downloading Adobe Digital Editions, a free ereader app that will allow you to read .epub and .pdf files. It's a great app and works well on the pc. I hope you take the time to look at next week. There are many great authors there who are fairly unknown in the book world, and they deserve some recognition. The best way to do that is to get some fans, so take some time and check it out. Happy hunting, all!

R. M.