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Nightmares, Torture, and Hellfire

It’s Friday the 13th, so embrace your inner scream queen, serial killer, or hellspawn – ’tis the season, after all šŸ™‚

The world continues its journey through the apocalyptic opening credits of a dark future horror story. We watch society unravel in six-second clips, threaten, abuse, and then wonder why no one else is bothered by theĀ obvious problemĀ (whatever the hell that is).

But there’s nothing new, there…

Like horror movie marathons at Halloween, my annual exercise in sleep deprivation & self-torture looms on the horizon… that’s right: NaNoWriMo’s right around the corner. 50,000 words in the month of November: that’s only 1,667 a day – unless you look at the number of days I won’t be able to write due to cheer competition, feast preparation, etc.

I’m going back to my NaNo roots – heading into the challenge with only a vague idea and hoping that I can power through to create something enjoyable.

The last few years, NaNoWriMo has defeated me. A combination of factors lead to the disastrous failures of the past few years but many of those factors are (finally!) off the table this year.

The project is tentatively titledĀ Hellbound and will tell a tale of a half-demon woman at the center of a power struggle between good and evil.

I’d give you more, but that’s all I’ve got at this point. Keep watch on the Facebook page once November starts, though – that’s where the cool lines and word count updates will be šŸ™‚

Turning back to something a little less fun…

Here in California, sadly, Hellfire is a very real thing as I write. Some of the state’s most beautiful places are being devoured by fire with no relief in sight. I live in the foothills of Central California. I’mĀ used to dealing with fire: hundreds of acres, dozens of structures, weeks to achieve containment: these are the fires I understand.

The Hellfire that’s sweeping through the northern part of the state, though, is a completely different beast.

There are 22 fires across 265 square miles (686 square kilometers, for those with metric brains) with no relief in sight.

At least 1,500 structures have been lost in Santa Rosa alone.Ā  State Farm has received nearly 1,900 homeowner insurance claims and more than 700 auto insurance claims due to the firestorm. Entire towns have been evacuated. The town of Willits is all but cut off from the outside world.

At least 26 people are dead with hundreds still missing.

The sheer scope of the whole thing is terrifying, even for those of use that are, unfortunately, used to coping with fire.

And there we have it…

A beautifully disjointed collection of thoughts, just dismal enough to be worthy of a minor sociopath with a flair for the dramatic.

Just remember – on Friday the 13th and always – I’m not a psycho obsessed with demons, explosives, rebellion, or the types of damage certain weapons might have on the human body… regardless of what my search history might lead you to believe.

Until next time, friends, be kind. It helps.

Protests, protests, everywhere, and scarcely a moment to think…

Before I truly begin, I must apologize to those of you who are not US citizens and may, somehow, have been spared the lunacy currently overpowering this nation.


A little history… it took 100 years for “The Star Spangled Banner” to become anything official on a national level.

The US Navy adopted it in 1899 but it wasn’t until an Executive Order by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 that it becameĀ almost official. President Wilson’s decree was that it was to be played at all military functions & ceremonies.

It took 15 more years (and a few failed attempts) before Congress finally decided to formally & officially recognize the song as the National Anthem of the United States. (In case you’re like me and don’t want to do the math, it was March of 1931.)

For the record, the National Football League had been established for a few years and officially became the NFL in 1922.

Fast forward to now – apparently ignoring all previous anthem-related protests because why bother with history, right? – and a good portion of the country is losing its collective mind over players choosing that particular tradition (and it’s just that – the only rules regarding playing the National Anthem at sporting events are imposed by the various leagues) as an opportunity to engage in peaceful protest.

I guess I just don’t understand…

If there’s something explicit in the players’ contracts about how they’re to observe the playing of the National Anthem, that’s a contract issue. End of story. The government doesn’t get to get involved in that. The POTUS doesn’t get to stand up on hisĀ veryĀ slippery soapbox and cry for a boycott.

Hell… the POTUS shouldn’t be doing thatĀ at all.

Remember what I said a few posts back about seeing the groundwork being laid for the hellish futures dystopian authors create?

Here we are again…

Shall I paint the picture for you?

I’d say “close your eyes,” but that would make it a tad difficult to read.

Clear your mind and imagine…


Following a devastating catastrophe, fearful rulers began stripping the citizenry of rights and freedoms under the guise of offering increased safety and security – and the citizenry followed, blinded by the fear of recent history repeating itself.

As time crept on, the same fearful rulers held firmly to their power and continued to strip the citizenry of its freedom and identity. Rather than look to the future, they dug in their heels and refused to move: providing a string of figureheads and phantoms to keep the citizenry from focusing on their growing monopoly over every aspect of life.

Some regions were worse than others: dictating how their populace was to believe in order to be accepted in what had come to pass for society. Those who did not embrace the politically established status quo were ostracized, slandered, and driven even deeper into hell.

When the citizenry, regardless of their origins, began to see the hell they were being herded toward, they began to fight back. It was small, at first. Mostly peaceful. It began to grow, and things became less peaceful: but the citizenry were fighting each other rather than the rulers that had driven them to their current state. And when those who had a measure of visibility, even celebrity, began to use that to further peaceful protest, the rulers’ current figurehead exploded with rage and demanded the rest of the citizenry to deny those few visible souls the right to be seen…


Sounds like a decent backstory summary for a world gone to shit.

But, enough with the politics.

I’m not quite over my flu and the nausea is really kicking in.

Until next time…

Imitation Game

“All that I desire to point out is the general principle that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life, and I feel sure that if you think seriously about it you will find that it is true.”

-Oscar Wilde

I have been watching the world grow more and more cruel.

It’s not position I’d ever choose willingly, nor is it one that I occupy without actively opposing its growing strength. Nonetheless, this world we live in has brought me to it.

I can’t speak for others but I can tell you that, to me, the current state of the world is terrifying. Rather than being united against the overpowering darkness, we fight amongst ourselves… teach children to scream obscenities they don’t even understand… shed blood without bothering to realize that it’s all the same color when it’s spilling onto the ground… and there’s no end in sight.

It’s understandably disturbing to students of history: those that have studied the recurring patterns and the turbulent decades that follow.

It is just as disturbing, though, to those whose visions reach into the far future.

Seeing the current state of the world, I see the groundwork being laid for the dark futures some of us create. The toxic wastelands, unwarranted division of peoples, unchecked abuse by those who have managed to seize power… those nightmares crafted in the minds of the creative collective seem to be looming on the horizon.

I hope Iā€™m over-reacting… but it is a little hard to tell.

And in other news:

The DayJob continues its quest to liquefy my brain.

Cheer season is in full swing and the youngest spawn has a full schedule until sometime in November (at least). Consequently, so do said spawn’s parental units.

We are back to triple-digit highs (37.7c and above, for those whose brains are metric) with thick clouds and random sprinkles.

And, just to make life interesting, Iā€™m still writing and crafting as if none of the above items in this list have any bearing on anything.

Rain In August (and other oddities)

This is today’s weather forecast. Did I mention that windshield wipers were necessary during the morning commute to the DayJob? Yes – it’s as miserable as it seems it would be… especially for the denizens the Central Valley who are so often reminded we should appreciate the fact that “it’s a dry heat.”WTForecase

Speaking of the DayJob… it hasn’t quite sucked the life out of me – but it’s making a hell of an effort.

In other news…

I am still chipping away at the previously mentioned projects and, thanks to a comment on the Facebook page, have another one rattling around one of the currently unoccupied corners of my mind. Or maybe sharing space with another fledgling plot. It’s hard to tell, sometimes.

Youngest spawn has finished camp and cheer season has officially begun. Practice Tuesday and Thursday, games on Saturday. This (in addition to the DayJob and other year-round responsibilities) is my life for the next three months. You may “see” less of me out here in the etherworld, but if you happen to wander our direction in real life on a Saturday, you’ll probably end up at a youth football game. You’ve been warned.

In the grander scheme of things: the world in general (my country, in particular) continues its downward spiral. I fear the doomsday clock will move even closer to midnight next year – assuming they even wait that long to make the adjustment. I think, though, that’s all I’m going to say about that today.

I make no promises about what I may or may not say tomorrow.

Redefining Insanity

Things are crazy here.

Even crazier than normal… unless, of course, you consider that all the pieces and parts are still… well… normal.

For me, at any rate.

The world seems to continue to spiral into madness (in a related note:Ā DissensionĀ is still free, but time’s running out). Seriously, folks, there reallyĀ areĀ things more important than who was cast in a TV show.

Closer to home, the Detwiler Fire in Mariposa County (central California) is not an immediate danger to us – but it’s devastating and my heart breaks a little more every time I see an update.
More than 74,000 acres have burned so far with only 15% containment.
Nearly 4,000 personnel are battling this blaze.

Even closer to home, the Day Job’s about to intensify exponentially and cheer season for the youngest spawn is right around the corner.

Then it will be back-to-school, and holidays, and…

Oh, and that cool story with the fantasy races in the post apocalypse? That’s still happening.
So’s another Rio Crew Novel.
And a couple other smaller projects that may or may not develop beyond brainstorming.

Thinking Out Loud

Eldest spawn is finally getting around to reading “1984″

She asked if I drew inspiration from it, mentioning that the writing of a particular scene reminded her of my work.

I was quite flattered by the comparison – still am, actually – but also perhaps a (not so) teensy bit disturbed.

Whatever your political favor or flavor, a well-written politically driven social apocalypse (with or without accompanying environmental damage and/or destruction) can be disturbing. Maybe even terrifying. But, in the end, books like this are written for one reason – to make people think.

I have told my children thatĀ “1984” is aĀ must read, but never did I mislead them by calling it an easy one. When the eldest spawn asked if I’d drawn on it, I had to really think.

I am certain I did not intentionally attempt to channel Orwell’s voice… however, to say his work in general – and “1984” in particular – had no impact on me or my own work would be a complete and utter falsehood.

As a young reader, the voices of Orwell and Bradbury hypnotized and terrified me.Ā As an adult, though the world has changed dramatically, the qualities of those voices remain constant.

I never considered my own voice among them, but apparently my sometimes insanely critical eldest spawn does…

There are things in my imagination – things that have found their way to pages – that are, at times, just a few steps this side of terrifying.

Either way, they make the brain work.

Regardless of the discomfort it may cause, thinking is one of the few things everyone can do to help keep the worlds ofĀ “1984,” “Fahrenheit 451,” and “Dissension” from slipping out of their bindings and into everyday life.

The ability to think is the essence of freedom.

So… until the end of July… here’s something to think about.

TheĀ DissensionĀ ebook is freeĀ in nearly any format you might need.

Go ahead. Click the link.

 

 

Blanket Fort

The “real world” has grown exponentially more depressing and my desire to hide away from it all is hard to deny.

But, as someone occasionally accused of being a responsible adult, I can’t just heed the call of the blanket fort without considering the consequences.

Thankfully, the Muse has finally decided she’s seen enough of the copper coffee pots.

She has taken me back (or is it forward?) to the days after the end of the world: a decade after a few superpowers chose play the very dangerous and deadly game of Whose Bomb Is Bigger, Anyway?Ā and ended up destroying civilization.

Some saw the way things were headed and prepared: shelters were built and stocked and, when the bombs began to fly, evacuations began. Some were barely large enough to keep a single family safe but others were designed to house the populations of entire cities.

Others preferred to stay above ground: to fortify what they could, help each other as much as they were able, and let fate lead them into the future.

Still others blindly trusted in divinity and bureaucracy: content to wait for government assistance and/or the hands of the Gods to scoop them up out of harm’s way.

Survival has done a lot of things to the races that lived here and has, in some cases, made matters worse.

Did I mention the fact that the so-called fantasy races never died out? That some of the largest and most secure bunkers belonged to elvish royals and some of the greatest ground-level safe-zones were built by humans and dwarves working together? What about the…

Enh…

I’ll let you find out for yourself šŸ™‚

Make The Plan, Execute the Plan

It should be simple, right?

It’s time to buckle down and start earnestly working on new stuff.

Words just flowing from mind to page faster than the word processor can manage.

That’s the plan.

Right now.

Any time.

Some time (and a couple website face-lifts) ago, I spoke of my muse’s decidedly temperamental nature…

(I am, of course, being as diplomatic as possible…in case that finicky, selfish, agonizingly contradictory inkblotĀ is currently reading over my shoulder.)

…and how I sometimes had to woo her with coffee, chocolate, and (sometimes undeserved) accolades of adoration and greatness.

Currently, she has me slogging through every old-to-ancient unfinished work she can direct me to locate. She allows me small changes to unimportant details. She even allows an additional sentence or two in the middle of the piece to clean up a scene. But when I get to the end of the draft…

Nothing.

Nada.

Zip.

Still, I try.

I have reached the point that I am emulating my real-life muse (may she rest in peace) and sit typing a tongue-twister buried in my brain from high school drama over and over again hoping the words will transform into something resembling a story.

Or the next part of a half-finished story.

Or anything at all, really, other thanĀ A quicker cup of coffee from a copper coffee pot.

Don’t laugh – it’s good typing practice šŸ˜›

At least she’s giving me that much.