The Norse Gods Love Geeks And Other Things


Now, while there is an American football team called the Vikings, you will not find a truer statement than the one I have made. The Norse gods love geeks.

And why is this, you might ask? According to remaining sources (those that weren’t destroyed by ancient Christians), the Norse gods were, and are, warriors. The gods are the epitome of masculinity, the goddesses the epitome of grace, beauty, and mystery. Since when would the likes of Thor (as depicted in the Marvel movies) ever dare to pick up a book and read or at least educate himself on the nuances on how to receive an email?

The answers are quite simple.

Geeks have kept the Norse gods and religions alive for decades now, starting with Tolkien and his world-building. Geeks have kept the Norse alive in various forms of fictional writing, from epic hero adventure novels to bursting with life and color stories in comic books and video games. RPGs like Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and Star Ocean take very heavy cues from the Norse mythos. (Seriously. In Final Fantasy VII, you’re on Midgard, which in the Norse mythos, is Earth. In Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning’s summon/magical partner is a creature called Odin that can turn into a steed. In Star Ocean, the entire magical system is based on runes, and, in Star Ocean 4, on the planet Aeos, there’s a cave called the Urd Falls Cave. For those wondering about Dragon Quest, the cue is game four. It’s divided into chapters, and the first chapter centers on a soldier named Ragnar.) The Japanese even created series called Odin Sphere and Valkyrie Profile. How heavily influenced by the Norse mythos, I’m not 100% certain as I’ve never played them,

The Norse gods love storytellers. On long, cold wintry nights, everyone gathered around the hearth for a good story, for singing, and for dancing. Norse culture is steeped heavily in story-telling. Storytellers keep the heroics and the traditions of those old ways alive, and geeks, by tradition, are storytellers in their own ways, be it gaming adventures, writing, or art. The spirit of the warrior lives within each geek.

This was something that’s been on my mind for a while now, and so I thought I’d share.

I’m currently also in a state of flux. My excitement over the new pen name has faded (as stated in a previous entry about names). I’m still sticking with Raven Ember for a while longer. Names are such fickle things, and the next name I want to be as true to me as possible.

Other things happening. I’m pondering either a new critique site (I have a recommendation for one, thanks to a fellow Scribbler) or simply seeking out beta readers. I’ve noticed a few things about Scribophile that are making the site rather unsatisfactory, and it’s very strongly related to the stance people take on critiques. I’m not going into details right this moment. I’m not even 100% certain I’m leaving the site just yet. I am simply biding my time. I have learned a lot from my time at Scribo. There does come a time when we outgrow what a critique group can provide us.

In the meantime, for my fellow Tulsa-area writers, I’m going to try and get a writing group going again on Wednesdays. The basic idea is to get together and focus on writing. Current location would be at the Bixby IHOP (I work there still) around 2-3 pm in the afternoon, and it would last for about 2-3 hours (no later than 5:3-6 pm – I have a class I’m attending every second and fourth Wednesday of each month). For people to bring: laptop, pens, notebooks, and a little bit of cash for either food, beverages, or both. I’m open to location changes as well. I’m simply choosing IHOP for the moment because I’m often there every Wednesday. Drop me a line to let me know if you’re interested.


Our Own Limitations


There is this phenomenon in the United States – might be in other countries, too; my friends overseas will need to chime in as to whether or not they’ve heard this from like-minded individuals as the ones I’m about to present – that comes up only when people like myself talk about traveling to other parts of the world with friends and family. The summer I’d returned to Michigan, it happened twice. In fact, my mother has said this, too, and she’s been to a good portion of the U.S.

“I’d rather travel the U.S. first.”

I got to thinking about this yesterday morning on my way to work, mainly because I was trying to settle (still am) on where I want to write about in my next Dream Travel blog entry. It also occurred to me that part of my desire to not travel the U.S. first is because, well, I’ve already traveled most of the U.S. first, with a couple of excursions into Canada for good measure. I’d left the state of Michigan for the first time in 1992, went to Texas for the first time in 1997, and, between 2000-2004, traveled to parts of the East Coast and finally to California. In 2011, I finally visited Utah for that writing workshop with David Farland. I moved to the Seattle area in 2014 and currently reside in Tulsa. There are very few states right now that I haven’t visited.

Mind you, most of the traveling I’d done was sustained by me having a good paying job, but I was still able to make this a reality for myself. So it’s one of those things now: If you want to travel the U.S. first (if you happen to be a U.S. citizen), then I have to ask what’s stopping such people from doing so? Time? Money? Good reasons, but I also wonder, based on my own personal experiences, if it isn’t more a fear of diversity and being exposed to things that will shake one’s core foundation and belief system. The people I know who say such things are close and narrow-minded individuals. They’ll listen to someone like me (because I’m family) but will still have the thoughts, oh you poor deluded thing, that’s not how this world works, if they’re not saying it to my face. And, yes, that’s happened to me, too. These are people who will say that they’re not racist, so long as people of color fit into their narrow world view and way of thinking.

Now I have traveled the United States or at least a good portion of it. It’s been a fun journey, and I’m of the mind to get myself into a financial position where I can do so again, just would need money for food and fuel and maybe hotel accommodations – I have an S.U.V. so packing blankets and pillows to sleep somewhere is actually not a big deal for me. There are a few places I’ve not yet been to but the notion of traveling the U.S. first over other countries? I’ve already done that and have done so without realizing that, yes, I’ve done so. (Internet friends and conventions are the best!)

The prevailing attitude of the “U.S. first” for travel just makes me think of how we limit ourselves and in so many ways. We can make possible whatever we set our minds to get things done. Yes, traveling the U.S. isn’t as easy as simply getting in your car and leaving for a weekend. Maybe for the next town over or even a trip out of the state but from one end of the country to another? Yeah. I get it. Finances are a pain to deal with, but, as I said before, it’s totally possible to do.

The same goes for writing, my friends. If this is your “U.S. first” of travels, start your planning for your road trip.

After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained.


The Name I Have Always Wanted


I am on an interesting, multi-faceted journey, personally, professionally, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I’m coming into my own at the right times. I’m still looking for the right pen name for myself, one that will truly convey who I am and what I am about in all aspects of my life.

Not to worry. I will still be Raven Ember for a while now. The former pen name no longer fit me, and I’m not about to go back to it. Raven Ember will get me by, and, yes, I jumped on the name change quite quickly after going through a few possibilities. It’s a temporary fix at this moment, one I’m happy with for the most part. It’s satisfied the need for a change.

In any case, there is a name I have loved for a very long time. Victoria. One of my main female characters is named that, and she’s appeared in a few of my fanfiction pieces as well. Mind you, I’ve changed the spelling to more fantasy-esque, but, well, I am in a transition phase in my life. I’m forty years old, I don’t look it, I don’t act it, and I know I’m in a transition phase. Ever growing outward.

I am in no rush to be changing my pen name. That’s mainly because I’m also on the lookout for a name to suit me in real life as well as professionally. Only the people in my real life know my real name, and the people I meet even casually love to remark that my real name is beautiful, unaware of the scars this name has brought me. It was an unusual name for a young girl in the 1980s, one that you would think people would remember, but they would forget it. When I do people that I don’t like my real name, even as they’ve told me they think it’s a very pretty or beautiful name, they’re shocked, and they’re like why? It’s hard for many people to imagine the anger and frustration (and hidden under the surface hurt) that my real name has caused me. And, spiritually speaking, it’s not even my real name. My father named me, unaware of who and what I was upon my birth. I’ve had many people tell me it would be bad to change my name, it would hurt him for me to do so, without them understanding that my name is very important to me, very sacred to me, so much so that keeping something that has wounded me is simply unwise.

I’m finding the name change, while rushed, has been good for me. I feel stronger and confident. And I love it.

A Sickness In My Heart


There is a woman I used to speak with, a woman who dreamt of becoming a successful author. This is not an unusual story in and of itself when it comes to authors. We dream of being as big as Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, J.K. Rowling, and Stephanie Meyers, those people who are actually quite rare in the writing world. For some reason, authors included, people have it in their heads that authors must be poor and remain poor, despite our ways to articulate the thoughts and visions in our minds. We’re talented, dedicated, but broke and working other jobs, pursuing other avenues of revenue because authors don’t equate into being worth the money for the joy they bring to readers. I watched this woman tear herself apart trying to become marketable, change her style and her genre at times, and to write in a style at one point that made me think her story had come straight from a Weis and Hickman novel. (To note here: The only people I ever want to see writing exactly like Weis and Hickman are Weis and Hickman. Otherwise, the author has completely destroyed a unique voice in writing.) All of this because people were trying to tell her how they had gotten themselves published, how they had gotten themselves agents, and from agent rejection. Also not unusual is the amount of time and energy people like myself put into encouraging her to keep going, to keep the faith, and to never give up on her dreams. She then claimed burnout, which, yes, is very real for everyone on this planet. Years later, she’ll still claim she’s still too burned out from trying to get things done the old-fashioned way to consider trying returning back to writing, to even consider trying things another way because the times have changed, and authors have more options when it comes to publishing, because Amazon has, indeed, changed the publishing world. I have encouraged her in the past to try a different critique forum – I tried her critique forum because she was claiming some success with them in finding her weak spots but found the atmosphere to be too toxic for my liking. I recommended the place that’s been working for me and why I wrote about finding critique sites that work best for the authors instead of feeling like one needs to be in one place only in order to succeed. I have even encouraged her to try self-publishing. What better way for someone who wants to be traditionally published at some point to try her mettle on the world by testing the indie market for viability? That’s part of why I started to self-publish in the first place. I have even asked to read her first novel she completed and queried out because it truly did sound fascinating to me.

I would reach out to her, ask her to try again, and that I would, for sure, buy her works if she decided to self-publish. Because, in truth, I would. I have indie authors in my Kindle cloud I would love to read. I have more I would like to discover. I believe with all of my heart and soul in supporting indie authors who are passionate about their stories, who continue to write because that’s what’s calling out to them, and because they care about their craft, they’re not just out to make a quick buck. However, past experience has taught me she’s unwilling to listen to my words and my encouragement, unwilling to even try because it’s stuck in her head things must be done a certain, and she’s an author this world needs. I know that she is. I feel it in my bones and in my soul. There are only so many times I can do this before I’m perceived as being pushy and overbearing instead of passionate and believing, yet, in spiritual terms, her guides have reached out to me repeatedly to get her back on that path. I have had to let this go time and time again, even as I know there are people out there who need her stories. I really do want to reach out to her, though, at times and just plead one final time for her to give my critique forum a try, to try self-publishing, to see where it can take her on that writing path. I want to know how her life is going as well because, at one point, I also considered her a friend, though I question whether she saw me the same or not. I will probably never know at this point, and I write this in an effort to once more let it go and be at peace with myself.

There is a man I used to call my dad. Once upon a time, I used to be a daddy’s girl. My parents are long since divorced, and my biological father has always had mental and emotional issues. I once told my counselor I thought he was manic-depressive due to his mood swings. He still suffers from depression, from feeling like his children don’t love him or care for him. I have dealt with tears over the phone because he’s gotten so emotional, from crying at the drop of a “I love you so much” and rolling my eyes at the display. Note: I possess zero doubts about my biological father loving me. However, I have spent hours upon hours trying to convince him that I do love him, that I do care about him, but my inquiries about his health was always met with a “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine” or a “I didn’t think it was that important”. I get brushed off on the important things. Most of 2017, when he reached out to me, it was to find out when I was going to retrieve my belongings. Maybe an inquiry or two about my health, but nothing about my job, my career, or anything else. When I finally could arrange the time, after gaining a new car and dealing with that new financial arrangement, I was treated like an inconvenience because he was entering his busy period for his new job, never mind it was still an inconvenience for me due to the type of work I’d maintained for two years along with gaining secondary employment.

He texted me about my grandmother’s death instead of calling, something that has not set well with anyone but me (I didn’t want to hear him blubbering over the phone about his mother’s death). I found out through Facebook and an email about my stepmother’s death. And I still retain my Michigan phone number. I’ve maintained that same number for two years now. I can even tell him that, and I’d be met with a “I wasn’t sure”. He’s so unsure that he doesn’t bother to try. And I know there are people who will gladly list the ways I can become a better daughter to him, a better friend to the woman who was so insecure about herself, despite all of her cockiness about her abilities, and I want those people to know this: I have tried all of those things and more. I have gotten on my biological father’s case repeatedly about his health, I have tried to express to the woman that I see her as more than just a wannabe author, and I have backed off. I have done everything I could, and I have been met with dismissal, neglect, and abandonment.

Meanwhile, as I have done all of this, backing off when and where needed, I have neglected my own writing career, my own emotional well-being. It has finally hit me that I have suffered for all of this energy I have sent out, so much so, my very spirit weeps at night as I lay down to sleep. The weeping has been an ongoing thing for two years now, and I now know the root cause. I have put more time into the care of others than I have for myself, and I could have accomplished so much more if I had put just as much effort into myself as I have them. I have yearned for people to do for me as I have done for them when it comes to love and positive energy. I have listened to others where my biological father has been concerned, about not severing ties because I might one day regret it when he dies, but the pendulum always, always, always swings both ways.

I expect no change from my biological father. I also expect no change from the woman. For her, though, should she wish to try again, should she actually read this and hear with her soul and heart my words, my door is open. Change begins with us, and part of my change for myself is to feed my heart and soul with love, my mind with positive thoughts and energy, and to put as much effort, if not more, into my overall well-being and career as I have them. This is my purge of the negative harm I have caused myself.

I refuse to drain and hurt my spirit any further. I do love these people, but I have my own things to accomplish.
Here’s to a healing and restorative 2018.

So This is 2018. Bigger Adventures Await


Four days into this new year, and things are still topsy turvy in the world. Hey, people and situations don’t change overnight just because we want them to, right? It’d be nice if they did, but then we might also find ourselves at a disadvantage because we’re not behaving how others want us to behave, which would be docile and meek most of the time, becoming doormats for those who wish to trample over us. Change is a double-edged sword that can and will cut both ways if one isn’t careful or mindful when using the sword.

Still, change is upon some of us, myself included. People are crossing my path, sometimes bringing ideas with them and sometimes just being a reminder of the type of person I wish to avoid becoming. Some even help me to become more aware, more awakened than ever before. And that’s good.

There’s going to be a lot happening this year. I speak not only on a personal, emotional, mental, and spiritual level for myself but for the world as a whole. What’s going to happen for the entire world remains to be seen. I hope that many wounds that have been inflicted upon our communities start to heal, that we open up dialogues instead of finger pointing and blaming, which gets us absolutely nowhere.

For myself, I know of a few challenges laying in wait for me. And I’ve already overcome them.

Life is a little slow at this moment for me, but I have no doubts things will pick up. Until then, writing is on my agenda, writing and tea-crafting. The witch is in.

When the Holidays Hurt/Surviving the Holidays With Family Issues

Christmas Day was been a rather mixed up bag of emotions. Indeed, the entire season has been the worst for me in years as I’ve reflected on years long since dead and have come to realize that Christmas is when I learned how to hurt.

It’s no secret that I come from a broken home. It isn’t even a source of shame for me as I realized a long time ago that my mom leaving my dad was the best thing that she could have ever done for me and my brother. I’m a stronger person for what my mom did.
Actions are not without consequences, though, and my dad’s family, most of them anyway, took their frustrations with my mom out on me and my brother. They weren’t physically abusive. They simply chose to ignore us for the most part.
Unless, of course, they could get something out of us. I remember going out of my way as a high school student and working the first time at Wendy’s buying my aunts Christmas gifts and making treat bags for my cousins. The ones I got gifts for never reciprocated the gesture. The main reason given was that they had their own children to buy for, which is understandable. But why ask your teenage niece for something but not get her something in return? Why buy for your nephews, of whom you have more of, but not your niece? And if I complained about it, I was told it’s better to give than to receive. Shouldn’t that standard have worked both ways?
The Christmas season is where I learned to hurt, to really, really hurt, that I only had value if I was being super giving but expecting nothing in return. It took my mother to tell me that I didn’t have to buy for everyone, that there were certain people who I should buy for but everyone else was optional.
The first time I enjoyed Christmas after the divorce was the first time I worked at the first nursing home to employ me. I didn’t buy anything for anyone beyond immediate family and my grandmother. There was no pressure for me to buy, to be anywhere else. It was great. I’d given my grandmother her gift, spent Christmas Eve with my dad and stepmother, and Christmas with my mother.I can’t begin to tell you how great that was, how relieved I was to have that pressure taken away from me, and it was also the year we had to shut the dining rooms down because the majority of the residents had become ill. It was messy, disgusting, but it was still one of the best holidays I’d had in . . . I don’t know how long. Christmases, when I was a kid, were definitely a time to look forward to, before the divorce, but the day after Christmas wasn’t. Anywhere from December 26 through January 1st, if my dad got mad at me, my mom, or my brother, he took the Christmas decorations down as punishment. That changed the first Christmas we had after my mom kicked him out, but the holidays were still rough between the aforementioned greediness of two of my aunts and uncle on my dad’s side and the caught in between two warring factions, thanks to my dad.
It’s been a really long time since the holidays have managed to depress me as much as this year has. By no means is my situation with my family anything spectacular. Wanting our families to like us is ingrained into us, but our families should also be doing what they can to make sure we like them, too. This year, however, has been exceptionally rough as I’ve faced what has been the actual cause for my dislike of the holidays. Add in that I do suffer from depression and anxiety (both of which I keep hidden quite well), add in that I worked two jobs where I dealt with the public, and overwhelmed and saddened doesn’t begin to cut it. Stressed out doesn’t begin to cut it. The two weeks leading up to Christmas itself were extremely tiring, stressful, and worrisome, which led to five days of my nose bleeding. The last nosebleed was my wake up call on how things in my life need to change.
I spent most of my day on Christmas at work lamenting a lot of things. I didn’t want to be at work. I’d mentioned to my mother after checking in on my dad on Facebook (short version: there was a mudslide in the Philippines; my dad had mentioned going there for Christmas to meet his “child” fiance’ (she’s 24; he’s 65 so he’s old enough to be her grandfather) and her eight-year-old son; at least 100 people were killed in this mudslide; given he is my dad, I wanted to be sure he was okay. I was worried) that he’d had surgery. So he’s not in the Philippines. He’s safe, in Michigan, but not talking to me. He hasn’t spoken to me in almost two months, not even to wish me Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. He once complained that he feels like his children don’t care about him. We don’t reach out to talk to him or anything. He doesn’t know what’s going on in our lives. And, because of the type of family that they are, because it’s somehow me, I’m the one expected to reach out, to exert myself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to a person who refused to tell me earlier this year why he was having surgery, that he was more worried about me and my brothers approving of his new soon-to-be bride, when he’s never cared about our opinions before, and we’re expected to be the ones to say, hey, Dad, I’ve got this going on. I’ve done this, too, and I’ve had my dad change the subject to something that was more important to him. It’s like, that’s not why . . . and you just give up. Then there are the family expectations of “he’s your dad, you should . . .”

It’s a two-way street, my friends. If people want to know why I haven’t contacted my dad since I left Michigan in November, I want to know why he hasn’t contacted me. If he feels like I don’t care or won’t care, that’s on him. I can’t deal with his attempts to guilt me into doing things that are toxic. And my dad is toxic. I’ve held on after years of stating I’m done, I can’t do this anymore, I don’t want anything to do with him anymore, all because other people believe that I’ll regret my decision to cut ties with him.

And that may be so. However, he’s not dead, not yet. And it works two ways.

Part of my trigger for my depression on Christmas was me telling my mother about the surgery then getting ready to leave, and she’s handing me this 1.25L of Coca-Cola because she’s gotten us drinks as part of our stockings for Christmas. I hadn’t had any colas for two weeks, it was a little freaky because she didn’t know that I’d quit drinking sodas (again), and I was moved by her efforts. She’s not a perfect mother by any means – I don’t know of any mother that is – but it moved me that she’s at least trying. And my dad has given up. He wants what he wants but puts no effort into getting what he wants, or, if he does, it’s because he’s trapped by the toxicity that is his life.

I love my dad, but I really don’t like him much anymore. I’ve held on because others have insisted and because a small, twisted part of me wants to save him when he doesn’t want to be awakened, when he’s content in the negative ick that clings to his persona, and I can’t do that anymore. I have too much life and positive energy in me to spend it on someone who can’t be bothered to even attempt a small act of kindness anymore.

After a long holiday season working a restaurant and a retail job, I’m mentally exhausted. I really felt it on Christmas. But then I realized I had beauty around me. I was actually surrounded by more people I liked more than I disliked, and I had the makings of my own family. I have my work kids, many of whom are working on improving their lives, on becoming these beacons of hope and positive energy, and who actually believe I’m a wonderful person, who actually see the hard work I put into my life, the efforts I make to be a better person. I am so very grateful to these wonderful young people.

One other thing that occurred to me during this holiday season, another lending factor to my loathing (not depression) of the holidays in general is how in-your-face the holidays have become. If you’re not in the holiday spirit, you’re automatically shamed for it. People don’t always care about the underlying reasons or that they’re even contributing factors for people hating the holidays. We are born into this culture where the holidays are celebrated. As children, we’re taught it’s the greatest time of the year because it’s the one time of the year where we get tons and tons of presents. Our birthdays pale in comparison to this magical holiday of Christmas. Yes, if we have siblings, we have to share the presents under the tree, but, man, our hauls are fantastic on this day. We’re taught from an early to be greedy around this time of year. (Think of the Dursleys from Harry Potter, my friends, and their bully son. That’s what I have seen the holidays become over the years, where threats of you gotta be good or Santa Claus won’t come means little or next to nothing anymore.)

Personally, it doesn’t bother me if people want to celebrate the holidays. What does bother me is when they get shitty with waitstaff or retail workers because something’s not the way they want it or the price isn’t coming out to what they want it to be. It also bothers me when they demand that I be in the same holiday spirit that they are when I’m not feeling the joy of the season because my lack of festiveness makes them uncomfortable. I get it, too, that such people are stressed out. Money is a huge, huge factor into everything going into the holidays, from decorations and presents to travel and baking. I guarantee those who have never worked in retail or a restaurant that those who do are just as stressed out by the holidays as everyone else. But being a dick and demanding that other people be happy and jolly for your sake is a great way to kill any potential joy those people are trying to feel.

If you want to celebrate, great. Celebrate! Eat, drink, and be merry. If you’re stressed out about how to afford the holidays, make a plan for next year. Find ways to destress, be it picking up items throughout the year or taking a lengthy bubblebath or enjoying a glass of wine in a moment of solitude. Destress yourselves, not distress and stress yourself. This year, for Christmas, it was awesome for me because I’d told my mom last Christmas (after she kept repeating herself that she didn’t have a lot of money to spend on gifts) that I’d be perfectly happy with crocheted gifts, and that’s precisely what I got a lot of. That speaks volumes to me because that’s something no one else can replicate, no matter how hard they try. I could give her a huge list for 2018, and I’d make it a huge list of crocheted items, just to see what she could accomplish from now until next December.

Finally, if you’re not into celebrating the holidays, that’s great, too. Because I get it. I truly do. It’s hard to be happy and joyous when our world is plunging into chaos, and we have family members who want to make it a requirement to celebrate. That’s how we hurt our loved ones.

I don’t know what the upcoming year is going to bring. I know I need to make some changes in my life, one of which is great healing on the mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. Dietary changes are also another must for me. I already have my resolution for the upcoming year, which is simply to be a better person than I was the day before. And that means forgiving myself for when I slip but not giving up just because I have slipped up.

In the meantime, it’s Thursday for me, which means getting things done and resting up a bit. Have a great rest of your day, my friends.

Rolling Out With the Changes


As I mentioned yesterday, I was struck once more with the desire to change my pen name. It was the first time I’d mentioned it, but it wasn’t the first time I’d had the feeling. Changing user names for fanfiction had actually become quite common with me. (I’d originally started out as Liana Bluestar and evolved to Dragonfly Moonlight for fanfiction.) Elise K. Ra’sha was the name I’d settled on over nine years ago when I decided to make it an official go of this writing career, to be like so many other writers out there and join those ranks for blogging and social media.

A bit of history about the name of Elise K. Ra’sha.

It’s for three women who had a major impact on my life at that point in my life. Mind you, there have been many strong, courageous women who have had a profound impact on my life, but these three rose above all the others.

The Elise is for a friend, Lise Radke. Though she and I barely speak anymore, have barely spoken at all since 2002, there is no denying how much she influenced my life. She was the first online friend I ever traveled to meet. I took the bus all the way to Des Moines, Iowa, because my 1990 Ranger couldn’t make the trip. We then went to BotCon, where I met another internet friend, Raksha (the Ra’sha last name).

Raksha has always held very strong views for individuality, views that, when she explained them to me, resonated within me. She spoke of knowing yourself first, trying to be a whole of a person as you could be, before finding someone to “complete” you. I found Raksha somewhat intimidating at the start because, by the time I’d gotten involved in the Transformers fanfiction world, she was already an established name in various Transformers communities. She’s one of the sweetest, strongest women I’ve ever met, capable of listening to opposing views, seeing how someone can be right in their opposing views of hers, but still maintain her views with respect and civility.

Lise and Raksha are ones who I continued to visit in between BotCons until the inevitable happened in 2002 and 2004, and I lost the one job that enabled me to travel as much as I did.

The K, my middle initial, is for my best friend and Wyrd sister, Kami. You’ve heard me speak about her a few times before. She, too, has had an amazing and profound impact on my life, making sure I grow as a person overall. Not always fun, not always easy, but she gets it, too, the situations I’ve faced.

I have met all three of these women at some point in my life, and there is nothing in this world that can make me love them any less. Each has faced so many trials and tribulations, so many things that would make others want to quit, but they have persevered. They are among a select few women in my life who have demonstrated that inner strength and capability. (My mother and younger sister are among the others.)

I realize it’s only been one day since I’d mentioned that I wanted to change my pen name. It’s not a decision I have made lightly, but I know it’s the right decision to make and to enact.

From this point forward, I am now Raven Ember. I will still maintain the account. I’ve also taken the steps to change my fanfiction user name, and I will be merging them. I still love to write fanfiction, and I want to make it easier for people who read my fanfiction to also find my original material, if they’re so inclined.

This journal will not disappear. It’s simply going to undergo a name change. For the rest of the day, I’ll be making the necessary changes to all of my distribution accounts.

Have a wonderful Friday, my friends!