My book ib7a06883433f52cb8038a0ab19aa2330s set in a fictional retelling of the small towns I have grown up in all my life.

The town’s name is Good Badger and would be little more than a place in the middle of nowhere…were it not for one special factor.  In fact, Good Badger is quite a tourist trap for a very special reason.  There is some ‘thing’ in it that drives people to visit it.

You’ll find out what that is later.

f196a5ac3c802a892ea010101503181cAnd because of this thing, the town’s economy depends on tourism.  Businesses are able to avoid closing and people don’t have to move away.  As long as Good Badger can keep tourists coming, it can stay alive in a nation that is transitioning away from small town life.  So they keep dressing up Main Street every summer.  They keep waiting for the families to come up from the Twin Cities for a summer adventure.  It’s how life in Good Badger, Minnesota is.

A note to readers: be wary whenever the word ‘good’ is used in the book.



Pre-T No More

For any readers who are not aware, I am a transgender guy. I came out in September 2015 and long story short it has been a rocky road since then. In some places I received nothing short of complete support and acceptance (and if one of them is reading this blog entry right now, I hope they know they literally saved my life). In others I was rejected and not treated so good.

But as of yesterday, that is all behind me. I finally received my first prescription of Testosterone!

The nurse at the clinic who showed me how to do injections was very bubbly and sweet. She seemed very happy for me and we got to talk a little bit about how long I have been looking forward to this. I was shaking with excitement the whole time. It was a complete 180 after my Valentine Blues the other day, which I lamented about plenty on this blog too…I do more than just professional entries on here, apparently! Sue me, I need an outlet for this shit.

When I woke up this morning the first thing I looked at was my bottle containing my T as well as the needle kit. It felt so surreal. Partly because for a long time I felt convinced I would be dead by suicide before I got to start hormones. This time last year I felt trapped in a place where the thought of a physical transition seemed so far away and out of reach. And yet today here I am, taking the first of many steps to helping my body become who I really am.

It’s also really nice to be riding this emotional high/life milestone because I can feel it making my shoulders stronger to carry my loved ones when they’re going through a rough time. It always seems to be a pattern of who is going to help the other get through the day (the real interesting days is when both of you are having a breakdown at the same time. Defining friendship moments right there). But now that I’ve made it a big step, I can be strong again. A burden has been lifted off my shoulders and I can carry others who have a lot weighing them down.

(Footnote. If you follow this blog for updates about writing and such and not my personal entries, this is where I would apologize if I thought I had to. But this blog is  a mix of professional and personal. A glimpse into my mind which sadly doesn’t just carry fictional characters and plot points. But of course it is entirely up to you if you want to read this or not.)

Anyway, Elian Lisette is Pre-T no more and a very happy boy! Now I’ll be off working on my book and listening to “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” on repeat…

Am I Legit Depressed or Just Being a Self-Obsessed Emo Faker? a novel by me

Well, not really. I’m writing a different book right now.

Although that does sound like a good title for a memoir come to think of it. Has a catchy ring to it.

If my major depression feels like something that constantly nags in the back of my mind, like a wedgie or an itch I can’t reach, that’s a good day for me. Those are the days I can distract myself just enough to forget all the negativity. I can function, feel like me. I can hold onto ideas and thoughts.

Today was not a good day. Valentine’s Day is never a good day for me. I spent the last one watching TV Land in a hotel room, shaking with the flu.

This is where I start to wonder if I’m just being one of Those Guys. The ones who moan and groan about being “forever alone” and are so self-observed they don’t see all the apparent flaws that make them horrible date material. Maybe I really am that loathsome. Maybe I’m so obsessed with getting through the day that I don’t realize I’m doing a bunch of nasty things, and then I have the gall to wonder why I’m alone. But that’s the thing…I’m not alone? I have family. I have friends. How hard is that for me to realize? I. Am. Not. Alone.

But I feel alone. I feel like I’m the card in a euchre deck you feel stuck with and hate having to use. I feel like the dirt left on a welcome mat. I feel like people whisper behind my back, “Ugh, why does he follow me around? I wish he’d just leave me alone. I can’t wait to get rid of him.”

And all the Valentine’s decorations remind me of that. All the heart shapes just say “See that? No one even wants to give you their heart, much less hold yours.” All the candies and flowers say “Look at all those nice things you don’t deserve.” Again, here I go sounding emo and self-observed again…what a surprise.

I hate that my depression makes being happy for others an impossible feat. I can’t look at someone with their significant other/fulfilling day/lucky things without a deep, ugly sense of jealousy which soon translates into self-loathing. I really wish I could genuinely be happy because other people are happy. But depression blocks me from it. All I can see when I look at their happiness is my own unhappiness reflecting back, reminding me of everything I don’t have. I know I have a lot of good things going for me, but I still feel empty. My brain and my heart send mixed signals, and it ends up forming a murky cloud around me.

Depression makes my head physically ache. It makes my whole body hurt. It pins me down and makes it hard to move. Which is probably a good thing, because I’m afraid that if I was able to move I might do something I regret, like hurt myself. So I sit here and type out this gruesomely personal blog entry and wonder if I have it in me to force out another chapter in my book.

I don’t know why I’m like this. All I know is I got those signals when I was a kid, from other kids around me. And to this day, no matter how hard I try, I still hear those signals all over the place even when they are not there. I am repeating the same bad day from almost eleven years ago over and over.

Like the movie Groundhog Day, I am in an endless cycle of the same words being said to me. Once by others, now by my mental illness. I don’t know how to break free. I wish I knew how.

Book Title Announcement


Official announcement: the title of my upcoming book has been decided.

Tales From the Last Great Lake. Coming soon. A gothic story of what lies beneath the frozen lakes of northern Minnesota and why we should be afraid of what we cannot see.

Follow my blog, my Instagram, and Twitter for more juicy teasers about my book (including exclusive insight into characters, setting, and more!), as well as updates about the book’s release date!!

Book Character: Lootah ‘Ruger’ McClarnon


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Ruger’s Pinterest Board


“Do you believe in God?”

“I believe in death.  And, every now and then, I believe in monsters.” – “Ruger” McClarnon

Lootah McClarnon, nicknamed “Ruger,” is an older middle aged Lakota-Irish fellow who is a newcomer to the small town my book takes place in.  He plays the role of the silent observer. Someone who more describes the events around him, rather than actively participating in them. That was one character idea that stuck with me years after reading The Great Gatsby in high school. And I knew someday I had to try it out for myself.

I created Ruger because I needed someone who serves as little more than a witness to the story. Someone who watches how the dark events surrounding him shape people’s hearts and dig up forgotten graves. He offers his own personal commentary on the influence that fear and prejudice have on friends and enemies alike. But don’t worry, it’s not all terrible. Hopefully some of Ruger’s thoughts on life in the American midwest will offer slight comic relief.

And as you read the book you’ll also come to know that Ruger has a brooding, existential, pessimistic view of the world (see the excerpted quote). Think overdose on Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche. Now wash that down with the cold Norwegian-German Minnesotan culture that keeps strangers at a distance, avoids confrontation, and is in a state of perpetual isolation and loneliness.

Ruger is also an unreliable narrator. And, sadly, there are scenes when I had to write him misgendering and deadnaming a transgender character (don’t worry, before I upload the chapter I will let my readers know when it’s coming, in case some of you may be triggered by that sort of content). I even triggered myself writing those scenes (but what mentally ill artist hasn’t done that?). Truth is, Ruger is not written as someone who understands LGBT+ issues, and he is insensitive to anything he doesn’t understand. He is not the only character like this either. But as much as I try to make that element of small town life realistic, it’s not the main focus of the story. After all, transgender characters deserve so much more than an entire narrative focused on all the bad things that happen to them!

But I digress. Despite these flaws and more, Ruger has really grown on me. He’s the sort of character I could write a whole series about.  See what he finds and gets into.  There is still a lot I don’t know about him. But I like to keep him full of secrets, even to myself. It makes my time writing him a forever unsolved mystery.

One last thing you might like to keep in mind. Nowhere in the book does it state that Ruger is human.