Photo: CA Hawthorne

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park. Photo: CA Hawthorne

Over the course of my eighth year of life I died a little at a time. Not physically, of course, just inside. The most vivid moment came late that year. I was upstairs, and though it was autumn, it was also mild. Outside, the setting sun was tinting the cloudless sky. I sat looking out, my fingers pressed against the glass as if saying goodbye. I was saying goodbye, saying farewell to the life I was certain I couldn’t have. I think of that day as the first day I constructed a wall to protect myself.

Sounds awful. Actually, it became worse, but hidden in those walls with me was Hope.

Hope became the invisible friend I didn’t realize I had. Hope held me when I wanted to cry, but wouldn’t allow myself what I viewed at the time as weakness. Hope held my hand when loneliness made others too distant. Hope soothed the hurt so I could outlast the abuse.

Over thirty years later I began deconstructing the walls and discovered I possessed a hunger for life, a fierce opposition to injustice, the ability to forgive, and a strong desire to make the world a better place in some small way. Too, the years spent trapped endowed me with a passion for telling stories that reflected those attributes.

It’s true: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

The day The Renaissance Cycle arrived. Photo: CA Hawthorne

While recovering from the onset of Chronic Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis in 2011 I faced my past and the resulting depression issues via poetry, which became a published collection in 2014, The Renaissance Cycle.

I didn’t enter a new age. I made one.

We can all make a new age.

I’m not alone in having suffered and many have suffered worse. You aren’t alone! My emergence from the refuge that became a prison led to the vow to become a compassion warrior, my sword the written tale. There’s one race, the human race, and there’s one equality, and it’s for all. Tragedy happens, but even one person suffering at the hands of another is a tragedy humanity shouldn’t tolerate.

That’s my past.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Misha helping me write. Photo: CA Hawthorne

The future is fantasy fiction. I thought to self-publish in 2015, but as I learned more about the craft I concluded I wasn’t ready. I’m not one to put forth anything less than my best effort. I took a step back. Doubled my learning efforts. Studied story structure, character arcs, conflict, Deep 3rd point-of-view, and a host of other elements that make up the type of stories I wanted to tell.
If you desire glimpses into that world they exist and can be found in several places. One is off-site on Pinterest where I have a board entitled Ontyre Visions (there are other boards also devoted to fantasy, writing, science, etc…take a look!). Another place to look around is under the Ontyre tab on my website’s menu, especially under Ontyre Maps. Fun stuff. Finally, there’s the Short Stories tab I created recently. As of this writing there’s one story there, an early Ontyre effort called Barriers that takes place long before the novels I’m working on.

At Glacier National Park. Photo: A kind stranger.

At Glacier National Park. Photo: A kind stranger.

Other interests? Well, reading, music, cats, the outdoors, Green Bay Packers (yeah, I know, football seems out of character), history, map making, space exploration, photography, and pizza are a good start. Too, since my move to Missoula in 2014 I’ve taken to meditation, mindfulness, and yoga.

My move here was a wise one, but as time has passed I’ve realized it didn’t mark the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one. A new journey of self-discovery has commenced and it’s taken me awhile to catch-up to what my heart already knew. I’m dedicated to living in the NOW and the direction my life will take from this point forward may be quite different than what I can predict. The past is for lessons and the future for goals, but life happens in the present and I’m embracing that approach now more than I have before.

It’s vital that we believe, believe in ourselves and believe in each other. There’s pain in my past, but it’s merely the story of how I arrived in the present, its value existing in lessons for myself and others when I share. Equality is treating one and all as equals and lifting those in need. Rather then focusing on what we believe cannot be done, let us instead strive for the impossible and make it possible. For my part, I’m tired of hearing “can’t” from those lacking vision. “Can’t” was what I was told after disease ravaged my lungs and I wanted off oxygen. I didn’t listen. The oxygen tank is gone.

(Updated 08/16)

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Missoula. Photo: CA Hawthorne


46 Responses to About

  1. Jenn Radcliff says:

    I’ll be checking in from time to time! 🙂

  2. Bethanie says:

    Most excellent. I can’t wait to read more!!

  3. Sounds like great fantasy novel, see you in the tribewriter

  4. T.K. Coleman says:

    I like the blog and I’m very intrigued by the novel. I can’t wait to read it. There’s no world like an alternate world. Cheers 🙂 -T.K.

    • Thank you so much. Yes, it’s an alternate world, but it’s an alternate world with many this world problems. Sometimes contrasting the everyday with the unfamiliar helps to bring the everyday more fully into the light. Loved the comment, T.K.!

  5. Christina you inspire me to keep punching at my keyboard. I have nominated you for THE BEST MOMENT AWARD

    • Oh my, Kath, thank you. The feeling is certainly mutual. I’ve sat here for the past minute thinking about how I read your message after taking a break from writing dialogue for my heroine. Long isolated, she finds herself addressing a crowd and expressing her heartfelt gratitude. Such is this moment for me.

  6. Sona says:

    Wonderful journey of reading….and zud lyk to continue…

  7. Lonna says:

    Hey Christina, you know I have always been a fan of your writing. Keep up the great work and I will be expecting to get my signed book. Seeing as how we have a history. After all I did read the first draft.

    • Hi Lonna! Glad to see you here in WordPress land. I have a signature here with your name on it. Your feedback way back when was dearly appreciated, though you’d barely recognize the tale now. I hope you investigate the other writing here. “Last Word Before Dying” is the only Ontyre writing available at the moment. Your opinions were and continue to be intelligent and well thought out. You’re a writer’s dream.

  8. AmazingSusan says:

    Cats are particularly skilled at demanding. Not so much at contributing. At least in my experience.

    • Demanding? Yeah, I can agree with that. At the same time, my perspective is that in their demands for attention, affection, and play they contribute to my life. My cats and I interact continually and have many arguments, but at the end of the day when I lay in bed and read Misha sets her head on my shoulder and Mr. Calvin curls up against my waist. I love dogs—am babysitting one next week—but I don’t coexist with them well for long periods because. I think it comes down to personality matches where each match is wonderful simply because it’s a match.

  9. sknicholls says:

    Your alternate world looks inviting. I could probably dream there. I wish you success with this project.

  10. Gwen Bristol says:

    I nominated you for a WordPress Family Award. 🙂

  11. Good morning, Christina!
    I found you via T.K. Colman. I shared your comment from his current post on my facebook page.
    I had a quick peak about your site and was very impressed to see your pinterest board…very cool how you can pull up existing images to realize your vision for your readers.

    • Good evening, and thank you very much. I’ve been following T.K. for a long while, since before he was on WordPress and before he had many followers on FB. He has inspired me more than I can say and the comment I left was more than a response, it was his words inspiring mine. It’s at such moments that social media is at its best.

      Thank you, too, for your comment concerning the Pinterest board. Having a visual link was always a dream of mine and I was excited to realize it. Too, I strive for selectivity. I don’t create wrong impressions. In other words, I don’t put up pictures that also include modern this-world trappings. As in theatre, I try to maintain that “4th wall.” Searching for such images can be frustrating, but it’s also a lot of fun.

  12. laserscope says:

    Seems like great fantasy novel.

    • Thank you. I like to think of it as “alternative fantasy” because it differs from Tolkien-like works. Some may not like that I’ve gone off in a different direction, but it’s my hope that many will enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed developing and writing it. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  13. Gede Prama says:

    Thank you for writing which is quite good and best wishes always, and greetings

  14. John Moralee says:

    Thanks for leaving that comment on my blog. I really like the layout of your website. That’s a great fantasy picture at the top of the page.

    • Thank you. The picture has a story. I’m certain it’s derived from one or more Albert Bierstadt paintings with new elements added (castle, tower above cliff). When I stumbled across it there was no credit as to who’d done the work, though. Someone more skilled in Photoshop than me, that’s for sure. What I did know was that it fit a scene from my novel almost perfectly. To make it perfect I flipped it horizontally, removed the geese flying over the water, and darkened the castle. Now it’s Ergain on her horse, Doppla, seeing abandoned Talonton Keep for the first time along Lake Seclusion in the Colossus Range. Thanks for visiting and leaving the comment!

  15. Hi, Christina,

    Hello, it is nice to be able to write to you.

    Thank you for the beautiful tribute to Billy. I am your Aunt Suzanne and Billy was 14 years older than I. I have always called him Billy because that is what Grandma Chapman and my Mom called him. Dorothy let me know about his passing the day you called her. He was out of Mom’s house as far back as my memory goes, but I remember him as a Policeman, and the corvette he had for awhile. He also loved the drums. Later, as an adult, I would look forward to his occasional visits back east. My husband, Gary, the children and I were saddened at his death. We all remember him as someone with great stories to tell, but happier in the company of mountains than with people, and that’s all right.

    I don’t remember where you fit into the age group of grandchildren, sorry. My oldest son, Robert (Robbie), will be 49 this year. He is married and lives in L.A. Pete (46 this year) is married, with 2 kids, his son is a freshman in college, his daughter is a junior in high school and hopes to become a Policewoman. My youngest, Heather (44 this year), is married with a son in 3rd grade. Heather is a writer, also, and has one book published with a second just finished. Best of luck with your book, by the way.

    I am recently retired, a paper crafter and a sometime writer and poet. I have a blog, though I seldom remember to write on it. I am hoping to put more of my work on the blog this year. I love making cards, scrap booking and I am just getting involved with art journaling. Gary and I live out in a rural area of NY and have the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets to watch.

    I, too, don’t see much of the family across the river (Hudson). I keep in touch with Dorothy and Danny mostly through Frances who calls me about once a month. There is usually a family party at Dorothy’s every year or so we all try to attend; her home is centrally located. Alison and I talk about 1-2 times a week and we visit 3-6 times a year. I have the most in common with her and she is closest to my age.

    In the recent past, I have re-met Sharon after a gazillon years and met her girls. We follow each other on FB.
    I am excited about your move, glad you also love mountains and happy I found your blog. I will drop in from time to time.

    Oh, we also love cats. We have a semi-feral group (6) that live outside in heated houses. We have more than that inside ranging from 15 years to 9 months. They are pampered and are the stars of our lives.

    Once again, I am happy to greet you after all these many years. I am sure that Billy welcomed your company at Christmas time. I am thankful you were there to help him with his last journey.
    With love, Aunt Suzanne or just Suzanne

    • Oh my gosh, Aunt Suzanne, hi!

      It’s truly wonderful to talk to you. I’ve always thought of you as “Aunt” so I guess I’ll stick with that. I’m 54 now, 8 years younger than Sharon. She has on occasion related stories about family gatherings, but by the time I was old enough to remember much they either occurred less frequently or we didn’t attend. I remember visiting your home once, but the memory is dominated by the migraine I suffered.

      Heather and I became friends on FB a few hours ago. I noted the writing theme to her page, but forced myself to return to my packing. It’s exciting to discover I have relatives with similar interests. Too, I see that you also do some writing. I never knew that.

      I’ve been in touch with Aunt Dorothy for several years now. I became severely ill back in 2009 after I contacted a bacterial infection in my lungs that kept me from working for a couple of years. It was during that time we reconnected. Too, I’ve had limited contact with Aunt Frances.

      It was Aunt Dorothy who most enabled my reconnecting with Dad. She supplied me with the support and contact information. In a strange twist I then became the contact the nursing home sought when they found a card from me in his room. Apparently he’d not given them any numbers to call.

      I have two daughters. Nicole is 31 and a traveling laboratory technician who’s currently in Philadelphia. For the past eighteen months I’ve been housesitting her home. Now I’m moving and she’ll return in early March to sell the house before taking her next assignment. Cheryl is 28 and also a traveling laboratory technician. In the oddest of coincidences she’s just begun an assignment in Missoula, Montana where I’m going.

      Currently I live with my two cats, Misha and Mr. Calvin. Like my mother I adore cats and have had them around all my life.

      All my love, Christina

  16. karmicangel says:

    Christina my dear, can you please email me your contact info? My publishers are trying to set up that blog tour of mine that you were kind enough to volunteer for. You can email me at karmicangie at gmail dot com. THANKS!

  17. olami2014 says:

    Interesting and lovely

  18. Hi, thank you for the likes and follow on my blog, good being across yours too 🙂

  19. Thank you for connecting on my blog and I am glad to come here and learn more about you 🙂 I look forward to reading your posts!

  20. Great – keep it up!

  21. bwcarey says:

    may your words open hearts and shine on the issues, thanks for your story, amen

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