Wednesday, November 30, 2016



I can count the number of travesties going on in this world on one hand…and the other hand…and my toes…and my teeth…and my hair. I may talk briefly about them online, but that’s about it. People always say that taking calculated risks is better than being passive in the shadows. They say if you don’t take risks, you haven’t really lived at all. Is that true? What if you choose to live safely because every one of your risks has ended badly? Am I suddenly supposed to live up to someone else’s standards of bravery by having more shitty results? Is it too much to ask that at least one of my bold risks pays 100% interest? So yes, I’ve lived in my safe place for several years now and I like it just fine.

Basically, what the failure of these risks boil down to is that I’m extremely hotheaded when it comes to confrontation and debate. Every time I’m challenged, my blood goes cold, my stomach feels ill, my mouth goes dry, and my Benedict Arnold of a brain shuts down when I need it the most. Once all is said and done, I dwell on these confrontations for several days, weeks, or even months. As I’ve stated several times, I’m autistic and schizophrenic, so that means a huge increase in sensitivity. The more sensitive you are to negative stimuli, the more you’ll want to avoid them.

If you were a psychologist trying to pick my brain, I guess you could say that the reason I love writing violent stories so much is because I secretly wish I could do those horrible things to my opponents. If I had the muscles and heavy weaponry of my favorite barbarian Deus Shadowheart, there would be a lot of dead bodies lying around. If I had the power of psychomancy like Tony Castle did, I could simply make my opponents feel just as sensitive and nervous as me. Writing violent stories is my own personal way of making gratuitous bloodshed legal.

But writing bloody stories doesn’t really solve anything, does it. Come to think of it, punching a guy in the face doesn’t do much either. Anger begets more anger. Hate begets more hate. While I realize how powerful of a force love can be, when I get into hotheaded mode, I’m not thinking about love. I’m either thinking about getting the hell out of my situation or beating some ass. I think even less about love when my schizophrenic mind shoves the incident in my face over the next few days and interferes with my life.

So there you have it, guys. Until there’s a cure for hotheadedness and oversensitivity, you won’t see me in the picket line or on the battlefield. Taking deep breaths does nothing, because while you’re trying to calm yourself down, your opponent will have already made the next move. And then you’re several moves behind and before you know it you’ve been bested by someone who is clearly in the wrong.

The best I can do for the cause is continue to write my bloody stories, pen heartfelt poetry, and vote my ass off. Sharing memes doesn’t do a whole lot, because let’s face it, nobody ever changed their mind because of a stupid meme. At least when I’m creating art from the shadows (a.k.a. “the safe place”), I’m getting some bang for my buck. What do I get for going to people’s houses and telling them what’s what? A black eye? A bruised ego? A bullet in my chest? Those would be preferable to an overly hot head. I’m not just talking about any hot head, but one that could bake a sheet of chocolate chip cookies.

I am by no means a cowardly person. I’m just a guy with awkward brain chemistry and too many lost chances. Even something as simple as applying for a job at What Culture could be considered a calculated risk. It could either mean a lifetime of writing kick-ass articles and being around funny people, or it could mean stressing myself out and not knowing what the hell I’m doing. Seeing as how I have a limited knowledge of pop culture, I’m guessing the latter of those two would be more likely. Why crash and burn when I don’t have to?

Living in a stress-free environment is paramount to the recovery of a mentally disabled human being; every psychologist will tell you this. It’s part of the reason why mental disabilities are grounds for gaining social security benefits: because working in, say, a customer service job would unleash the demons inside. While it is true that level-headed people feel stressed out at work too, disabled people feel it a hundred times worse. We can’t in all good conscious leave these people with no income, so that’s where social security comes in. That’s a talking point I’ll defend until the end, hotheaded or not.

Do I have the power to change the world? I don’t know, buddy, do you? Does anybody? Does any group of people have a loud enough voice to bring change to this mad world? Some people get noticed, some people get ignored. If everybody got noticed, we’d have a much happier world, wouldn’t you agree?


It’s a new week at the WSS and wouldn’t you know it, the admins used my prompt suggestion “Inner Voice” (I wonder how I thought of that one). My story this week will be called “Madhouse” and it goes like this:


  1. Joe Fields, Artillerist Mercenary
  2. Random Hallucinations

PROMPT CONFORMITY: One of Joe’s hallucinations is his inner voice.

SYNOPSIS: With bulky steel armor and chain guns mounted on either hand, Joe attempts to hunt down a bounty head in the middle of a bamboo forest. He stumbles upon a Japanese-style temple thinking that this is where the criminal is hiding. When he busts down the doors, he finds that nobody is there and he tries to leave. Instead of a clear escape, Joe begins having hallucinations of ghosts, samurais, ninjas, and other warriors attacking him at random angles. The vulgar mercenary begins to slowly go insane as he fights off these tormenting phantoms. Joe is convinced that there’s a conspiracy against him, but this belief only contributes to the degeneration of his mind.

FUN FACT: I guess Mr. Fields secretly has a hot head.


I’ve tried twice to draw Knox from “Emoticon Artist”, but these attempts were met with me throwing both pieces of paper in the garbage. I’ll eventually find a good model for my orc warrior, just not tonight.


“Protesting is a lot like having sex. You can scream and be as wild as you want. You can even do it all night long. But if something starts to burn, then maybe it’s time to go to bed.”

-Trevor Noah-

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bitch About

Bitch about millennials, bitch about liberals
Bitching quite a lot or bitching just a little
Bitch about democrats, bitch about greens
Bitch like you know what the fuck this all means!

You’ve got your own version of PC culture
Got your own whiners like Hannity and Coulter
Got your own pitchforks, got your own chariots
Got your own sins, got your own embarrassments
Got an automatic rifle to enforce your rules
Got a stockpile of magazines and torture tools
When the brightest flame ignites the flag
Your private army grabs the body bags

Bitch about Hilary, bitch about Bill
Bitch about Bernie, bitch about Jill
Bitch about people other than yourself
Bitch about dark magic on the library shelf

You have everything you’ve ever wanted
Freedom and church, yet you feel taunted
You tell other people to not be offended
Yet your own traumatic visions never ended
You got triggered, so you got liquored
As if your ego could get any bigger
You hurt just as much as the rest of us
Join the human race or in the moon you trust

Bitch about this, bitch about that
Bitch while swinging a baseball bat
Smash the windows, smash the hood
Smash it all in the name of holy good
Bitch about protestors, though you are one
Bitch about everything under the sun
Bitch about life, bitch about the world
Bitch until you feel like you want to hurl

What makes you so different from us?
We all have the need to fuss and cuss
Superiority is a dangerous illusion

Don’t be the one who promotes exclusion

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Psychomancer

Little Ashley Cormier ran down the forest road with a scar on her right cheek, burning lungs, and flapping arms. As she was sucking down air, she made small whimpering noises like she was about to burst into tears at any moment. She could hear the voice of a screaming teenaged boy behind her, but she couldn’t discern if that voice was in her head or a frightening reality. No matter how much adrenaline flooded through her system, her body could only do so much before she dropped to her knees and breathed her hardest. She held her aching ribcage and spit out stale snot. Tears dribbled down her cheeks and into the mud puddle she was kneeling over.

“The forest is no place for a delicate young girl like you,” said a powerful male voice, which caused Ashley to spring to her feet out of anxiety. The man was dressed in a black robe with various Wiccan symbols strewn in red across the trims. His long brown hair and rugged beard made him look like a walking advertisement for Head & Shoulders conditioner. His fingers always seemed to be spread out like he was ready to cast a spell. This had to be the legendary Tony Castle.

“Are you the Psychotic Mister?” asked Ashley while flapping her arms nervously.

Tony chuckled and said, “The term you’re looking for is Psychomancer. And yes, I am him. You can call me Tony if you’d like. You seem to be in a lot of anguish, my dear, judging from your dirty hair and torn hoodie. Have you been in a fight recently?”

“Yes, Tony. I, uh…I…” The teenaged girl twiddled her thumbs and fingers while clapping repeatedly. When she couldn’t come up with adequate words, she bawled some more.

The psychomancer approached the fragile girl and hugged her around the shoulders. His robes were softer than a kitty’s fur and the strength of his hug reminded Ashley of the father figure she never had. She hugged him back, but not without patting him on the spinal column a few times.

When the embrace broke, Ashley wiped her eyes with her dirty index finger and asked, “Is it true that you can cure people like me? I have this…problem. I don’t want it inside of me anymore.”

“If you’re seeking the services of a psychomancer, then I can hazard a guess as to what you might be referring to,” said Tony. “You’re autistic. The arm-flapping and constant nervousness are both telltale signs. You came here because you want me to rid you of what you perceive to be a serious disease. I can cure many ailments, but this is one that is beyond my league. I’m sorry, but I can’t help you.”

“You don’t understand, Tony!” Ashley sobbed as she twiddled her fingers some more. “If you don’t cure me, those boys will keep picking on me and calling me a retard! I can’t live like this anymore! If you won’t help me, then I’ll just…I’ll just…”

“You’ll what? Deprive the world of a beautiful human being like yourself?” asked Tony. “Many people have come to me with thoughts of suicide. While you may experience permanent relief from your mental ailments, you will hurt many people around you with your actions. You may not realize it yet, but there are people in this world who love you. If they don’t know you yet, then they’ll be lucky to have you as a friend.”

Ashley weakly shoved Tony away and shouted, “You don’t know me! How can you say those things about me when you don’t even know my goddamn name! I don’t have any friends! They all hate me! Everybody just wants to beat me up all the time!” She dropped to her knees and released another puddle of tears into the dirt.

Tony knelt down and placed a loving hand on his charge’s shoulder. “Have you explored the world beyond your dwelling? Are you sure that every single person in this world will hate you for being autistic? And even if they did, will they like you even more if I suddenly used my magic to cure you? Love is what will save you in the end. If not in one place, then you’ll find it in another.”

“What am I supposed to do, run to my mommy for help?!” Ashley yelled. “She’s the whole reason I feel this way! She let those doctors stick needles into me when I was little! You know what they say about those kinds of needles!”

“I do know what they say about those kinds of needles, my friend,” said Tony. “And none of it is true. Quicksilver alone didn’t make you who you are. Genetics can only do so much, but it’s what you feel inside that will make you who you really are. You don’t need to hate yourself and you don’t need to hate what’s inside of you. Because of your autism, you have a heightened sensitivity to the world around you. When you’re this sensitive, your mind has a lot to take in. And when it takes in that much, you can not only process psychological trauma, but you can also create beautiful things during your time on this earth.” Tony smiled through his leonine beard and asked, “What’s your favorite form of art?”

“Well…I like to…write…” sniveled Ashley. “But I’m not that good!”

“That’s because you don’t believe yourself to be good,” said Tony in a soft tone. “If you don’t believe in yourself, how will your audience believe in you? Artistic endeavors are just like any other skill: without practice and hard work, they don’t develop. It may be a long journey to where you need to be as a writer, but if you start to love who you are every once and a while, it will seem like you’re already there.”

The two of them stood up and embraced once more. Ashley’s snot and tears soaked Tony’s robe, but the middle-aged wizard didn’t seem to mind. He could only hope that his message of positivity got through to her. Even powerful sorcerers had their limits. Powerful hearts, on the other hand, were much stronger than any magic spell in the world.

“Well, ain’t this a cute sight!” said a grating male voice in the background. Ashley and Tony broke their embrace and stared down a pudgy teenager with a bald head, an American flag T-shirt, and black jeans with combat boots. The boy folded his tree trunk arms and smiled disgustingly.

“You have no business here, young man!” Tony warned the boy. “Turn around and leave this place before I…”

“Before you what? Challenge me to a game of shuffleboard! You’re one generation away from being locked up in the old fart’s home, pops! Now let go of the bitch and bring her here! She’s got some lunch money she owes me!” said the bully.

Ashley felt a cold weight in her stomach as she stammered and flapped her arms while the big boy mockingly held his sausage hand over his ear for better hearing. The autistic girl eventually found the small courage to say, “Screw you!”

“Screw me?!” the bully laughed. “Is that was this is about? You want to screw me? Well, why didn’t you say so! Here, why don’t I lay that smoking hot body of yours across the mud and we’ll do it right now! I’m game!”

The nameless jerk marched over to Ashley with his ham-hawk mitts raised in a grabbing position. With a wave of Tony’s hand, the bully froze in place and trembled with anxiety. His eyes were huge, his chubby cheeks flapped lightly, and he made the same small whimpering noises that his victim made earlier.

“Do you feel that, young man? Do you feel it?!” said Tony. “That’s what your victim feels right now. That is pure, unadulterated fear and post-traumatic stress. It’s the feeling a victim gets when his nervous system is so stressed out that it’s about to snap. Your brain will go numb. Your heart will beat like a war drum. Your blood will go colder than a meat locker. Any A’s you had in school will turn to D’s, C’s, and F’s. But don’t take my word for it. My new friend will tell you what it’s like.”Ashley looked up at Tony confused and terrified, but Tony patted her shoulders and said, “It’s okay, little girl. You can do this. You have to do this.”

Ashley’s cold river of anxious adrenaline turned into a molten lava pit of boiling anger. Her eyebrows turned downward, her arms stopped flapping, and her legs were sturdy enough to keep her standing through what she was about to do. She approached her bully with her finger pointed at him like a totalitarian authority figure. “You listen to me and you listen good!” she raged. “If you ever pick on me again or call me a retard or beat me up, I’m going to kick you in the balls so hard that you’ll have a lobotomy! Then we’ll see who the real retard is! Do you understand me?! I said do you understand me, you son of a bitch! You’d better tell your friends that they’ll get the same thing if they fuck with me!”

The bully nodded at Ashley and slowly turned around to limp away. She even kicked him in the butt and yelled, “Move it!” to get him to leave faster. The bully stumbled and tripped along the way due to his firsthand experience of anxiety, but he was eventually far enough out of sight for Ashley and Tony’s benefit.

The only thing that could calm the autistic girl down was the psychomancer’s gentle hand on her shoulder and the words, “You were cured alright.”

Friday, November 25, 2016


A bikini selfie is worth more than true art
Gigantic tits are worth more than pure heart
Attention is currency worth more than gold
True love is distant, not close enough to hold
Favorites and likes have become so trite
To even those with the true creative might
Shallow values have come to mean something
Yet underneath it all, there’s all but nothing

Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
A human body made of paper mache
Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
A human mind to shape like clay
Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
A human spirit to be taken away
Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
A worthless story for another day

A bold faced lie in a suit and tie
Will bring you to financial highs
A little fairytale going off the rail
Will serve you with papers in the mail
Free speech: silenced with duct tape
Free thought: silenced with mind rape
A big bank account has come to mean something
Underneath it all, you’ve got absolutely nothing

Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
A human life made of chips and wires
Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
A human love with no passionate fires
Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
A human story for the funeral pyre
Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
A human body far past retired

What good is power when it’s used for evil?
What good is love when it isn’t for the people?
What good is money when it’s wastefully spent?
What good is anger when you’re not hell-bent?
What good is attraction when you’re just a fraction?
A former shell of a man who burst into action?
Questions and answers should both mean something
But when there’s something to seek, we find nothing

Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
Robotic body with a putty face
Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
Robotic logic so full of disgrace
Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
Robotic motherboard all but fried
Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
Robotic judgment as national pride

There really is no dark side of the moon
But it’s where our heroes will go very soon
The artists, the geniuses, everyone in between

Our final generation is what we have seen

"Never Again" by Marie Krepps

BOOK TITLE: Never Again
AUTHOR: Marie Krepps
YEAR: 2016
GENRE: Fiction
SUBGENRE: Creature Fantasy

In a medieval world inhabited by animalistic shape-shifters, Lord Sable is the ruler of the Southern Territory, but he is far from a typical politician. Instead of pushing papers behind a desk, he’s brawling with bandits and monsters as a way of protecting his people. He’s also protective of his little daughter, whose mother died after giving birth. Sable is crass, angry, vulgar, and emotionally cold. When another shape-shifter named Nessa comes into his life, the Southern Lord has to choose between keeping his trauma locked up forever and letting someone in to ease his pain. Nessa has pain of her own and wants to run into Sable’s cold, but strong arms. Will these two come together or tear each other apart? Cooperation is a must considering an unknown enemy is targeting Sable and his family.

I have to be honest here for a moment. At first I was critical of Lord Sable’s character development. He came off as an abusive jerk-ass who would never survive in a liberal democracy. And then I remembered that the story’s environment is anything but a liberal democracy. This is set in medieval times, which means literacy is at its lowest, ignorance is at its highest, and bigotry is everywhere. Instead of scoffing at Sable’s negative attitude, I’m praising Marie Krepps’ ability to stay true to the times. Even with a fantasy genre label, it’s important to keep things real and believable. High five to Ms. Krepps for doing an awesome job of that! And if you’re still not convinced that Sable is capable of being a decent person, keep reading, you’ll get your moment….sort of.

Another thing that deserves praise is a staple of most of Ms. Krepps’ books, the delicious sex scenes. I won’t say who they feature because that would count as a spoiler. But when the sex happens, you feel every muscle twitch, you feel every drop of sweat, you feel ever orgasmic burst of energy, and you’re hungering for more afterwards. Marie doesn’t just tell you what kind of hot sex is going on; she puts you right there in the middle of the action. I’ve always praised her ability to show instead of tell and these luscious scenes are living proof. She’s been doing these kinds of scenes for a long time now and experience has always been the best teacher. Try to remember: this book is not meant to be pornographic. Try really, really hard to remember!

The final thing I want to comment on is this book’s similarities with the long-running anime Inuyasha, which also takes place in medieval times and features demonic animals. Creative fuel can come from anywhere and Marie Krepps is a lifelong fan of anime, so that’s a lot of inspiration to work with. I often picture what it would be like to have Inuyasha and Lord Sable eat dinner together. There would be a lot of wolfing, a lot of swearing, and a lot of lewd behavior. The difference between them? Sable doesn’t have a “sit” necklace to hold him back. On the contrary, he’s made of 100% raw power with cold emotions to boot. In a way, Sable is also comparable to Koga since they’re both wolf shifters and equally vulgar. It’s always nice to see an author use creative fuel in such an innovative way.

This is a Marie Krepps novel in the truest sense: sex, violence, fantasy, romance, and an invitation to a front row seat for the action. She knows exactly what she’s doing when it comes to hooking in readers and never letting go of her death grip until she damn well wants to. This isn’t the last we’re going to see of Lord Sable, Nessa, and the evildoers who want to tear their world apart. This is only the first in what will eventually be a long series of awesome storytelling, high drama, and explosive action. I think she deserves a passing grade for her effort, don’t you agree? Excellent work, Marie! You’ve done it again!

Demon Axe, Chapter 8

Right under their noses. It was a cliché expression, but one that couldn’t have been more true for Daniel and Raven. The portal to the elven world was right under the destroyed bronze statue of King Arthur Triscloud himself. Most audience members and even the bands themselves thought this was just a pretty decoration. Seeing sacrilegious treatment of her father’s centerpiece brought a scowl to Raven’s face. She nevertheless took Daniel’s hand like they were going on a date, to which the Lord of the Pit was sweating bullets. The elf warrior drew her blade, stuck it in the statue’s receptacle, and opened a beautifully-colored blue portal that sucked the two of them in.

Traveling through this portal was like floating in zero gravity. It relaxed Daniel’s stressed out body while Raven remained stoic and brave during transit. Seeing such vibrant shades of blue and being able to taste them reminded Daniel of that acid flashback he had been promised earlier. He even saw a purple breeze blowing through this dark blue netherworld, which left him in an even bigger state of awe. Waves and shapes assaulted his mind and left him feeling peaceful, no trace of trauma or heartache to speak of.

When the duo finally crossed over to the elven world, Daniel still believed he was high on drugs. Just like the portal, the skies were lovely shades of dark blue and purple. The ivory white buildings were twisted like lovely seashells. The roads were paved with silver. The trees and foliage in between buildings and roads were strewn with vibrant, rainbow-like colors. Elf children played in the streets with so much happiness. Elf adults went about their business whether it was blacksmithing, selling fruits and vegetables, or grooming cuddly creatures like horses, cats, and dogs.

“Tell me again how your world was conquered and devastated by the humans,” said Daniel sarcastically.

“Trust me, Daniel, it took us a long time to relocate and rebuild after such an atrocity. The only reason the elven world looks this good is because we managed to hide ourselves for so long. By getting his views on television, Roger Zee has done more harm than good when it comes to us staying hidden in the underground,” said Raven. She took Daniel’s hand once more and said, “Come on. Let’s go see the king.”

As the two of them walked down the street together, this very much was feeling like a date to the heavy metal singer. Sure, they hardly knew each other, but the life of a rock star always meant fast relationships and even faster women. Under ordinary circumstances, Daniel wouldn’t have been so sweaty and jittery. But this was an elf woman. This was the kind of woman he fantasized about when playing D&D as a teenager. He never in his wildest dreams imagined it would come to fruition. But what was he thinking? He was getting too far ahead of himself.

The king’s castle was even lovelier to look at than the rest of the city and that was saying something. Crystalline light blue walls, a golden arch holding the double doors together, the spiral-like towers on all four corners, the emerald dragon statue staring down at the city with a wizened gaze, a castle truly fit for an elven king. The two leather armor-wearing, poleax-wielding guards nodded at Raven before letting her and Daniel inside.

The stained glass decorations, the diamond-like dragon heads on the walls, the soft red carpeted floors (which were comfortable enough to sleep on), all of these led the way to King Arthur Triscloud’s throne in the back of the castle. He was a marvel to behold with his lavish red robes, golden crown encrusted with amethysts, spectacles resting comfortably on the bridge of his nose, his massive blade by his side, wrinkled skin, and lengthy white beard hanging down his chin. His smile was warmer than a tropical breeze when he greeted his daughter and her new charge.

“Thank you for bringing this young man into our world, dearest daughter,” said King Triscloud. “The two of you look like you’ve been through some battles together. But it’s nothing our healers and witchdoctor’s can’t fix.” From out of the shadows, two healers dressed in silky white robes approached Raven and Daniel with baskets of herbs, leaves, and oils. They removed their makeshift bandages and allowed the healers to close their wounds with pasted leaves. The sting of the liquid forced Daniel to wince and drop an F-bomb, but his wounds were sealed over nicely, as well as Raven’s.

“Listen, Mr. Triscloud,” said Daniel. “Your daughter here tells me that she brought me here because you think I’m actually capable of taking down this Roger Zee asshole who’s been cutting up people left and right. Here you are with this army of elves, most of them at least partially trained in combat, yet you want me, a guy with no fighting experience, to do battle with this lunatic. I’ve tried to explain this to Raven here, but she won’t budge. Please talk some sense into your own flesh and blood.” That last remark earned him a backhanded smack in the arm from Raven.

King Triscloud chuckled heartily before saying, “Yes, we do have some of the finest warriors at our disposal, but violence alone is not enough to bring down Roger. He was part of an elite group of soldiers known as The Order of the Spider. Most of these warriors died in our conflict with the humans. Roger survived. Over time he became bitter and disgusted with society in general. He blames humans for desecrating our holy grounds, but at the same time, he blames us for perceived softness and commitment to sinful magic. I trusted him with my life. In turn, he became just as hostile as our invaders.”

“Well, it is nice to know that he’s doing this for a reason and not just because he’s a random asshole,” said Daniel with his hands on his hips. “But what does that have to do with me? What did I do to him that was so disrespectful to his rightwing craziness?”

“He hates artistic endeavors. Your music and your homage to dark magic are both symbols of individuality. Roger wants the world to conform to one nation. He’s no different from any extremist you see on your television sets. Individuality and free thought are both poison to a conformist society. That’s why Roger wants to hunt you down. That’s why you are the only one who can stop him. You’re not going to stop him with fighting skills alone. You’re going to do it through your creativity,” said Arthur.

Daniel made a flat tire noise and shook his head before saying, “You do realize that music doesn’t actually do anything, right? It’s nice to listen to and it gets a lot of people through their days, but how is any of this supposed to stop a guy with a fucking machete?”

“I’m glad you asked, Mr. Mercer,” said Arthur. “In your escape from Roger’s mass murders, you left behind something of value to you and your cause.”

“Oh, now you’re mocking me for leaving my band mates to get slaughtered by this moron?”

“No, no! That’s not what I meant at all!” said the king as he held up his hands defensively. “I’m talking about something entirely different. You want to use music as a weapon? Now you can.” From his robes, Arthur pulled out the battleaxe microphone that Daniel used during the concert. It was now glowing with a golden aura, had crosses and symbols engraved on it, and had the faces of the slain Demon Axe members infused into the blade.

The Lord of the Pit gazed at his microphone with wide eyes, like he had just eaten a bag of psychedelic mushrooms. He slowly approached the king, who held out the microphone in the palms of both hands for Daniel to take. The singer stood back and swung the makeshift axe around, which left a trail of gold dust in its wake. Just when it looked like he was completely hypnotized by this artifact, he said, “Wait a minute,” and tried to use the plastic blade as a weapon on his wrist. No cuts. No wounds. No nothing. Just gold dust. Lots of lots of gold dust.

“Okay, you do realize that this microphone is just a prop and isn’t a real weapon, right? How the hell do you expect me to slash the shit out of Roger Zee with a piece of fucking plastic? His machete, on the other hand, is very fucking real! I might as well have gotten my microphone from Toys R Us!” shouted Daniel.

“Mr. Mercer, that’s not how you use the microphone,” explained Arthur.

“Oh really? Then what am I supposed to do with it? Sprinkle a whole bunch of fairy dust on him? Is he allergic to fairy dust now? Does he have any other allergies I should be aware of? Peanuts? Plants? Animal fur? Seriously, what the fuck were you thinking?”

Raven pleaded, “Daniel, just let him explain what it’s for and then…”

“Explain?!” roared Daniel. “What is there to explain?! It’s a fucking toy! Your wise, loving, all-powerful king gave me a fucking toy to do battle with a goddamn zealot! Anything else would have been better! A lead pipe, a BB gun, even a fucking pocket knife would have been better than this toy! I told you time and time again, Raven, Demon Axe’s gimmick is just that: a gimmick! Dark magic is about as fake as Hollywood tits! It was a motivational tactic, that’s all it was!” He turned to Arthur and shouted, “Thanks for sending me up shits creek without a fucking paddle! You’re a great politician! Hell, you can’t be any worse than that idiot with the fake hair! Fuck this, I’m out of here! Thanks for bringing my toy back!”

Daniel marched out of the castle with Raven following closely behind and pleading with him to stay. Arthur could be heard in the background grunting, “You stupid, selfish, silly man!” The Lord of the Pit ignored him and continued storming through the elven world. With any luck, he could pawn his microphone and travel somewhere that wasn’t infected with terrorism or extreme violence of any kind. He’d have to do some research and apply for a visa, but even living in the dankest, darkest parts of Africa was better than fighting Roger Zee with a piece of glowing plastic.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Kicking Caffeine


As many of you already know, struggling with laziness has been a problem for me for the past few years. I desperately wanted to write the next great chapter or read another thirty pages of my book, but then my brain would be too foggy for me to carry on. This frustrated me so much that I started blaming myself for this drowsy feeling. I got a CPAP machine a few months ago and that solved a lot of my problems. And then I started reading articles online about procrastination, so I made even more changes to my lifestyle. I’m going to bed at an earlier time, I don’t eat a heavy meal before sleeping, I abstain from sugary foods, and the biggest one of all, I’ve given up caffeinated drinks completely, which include Diet Mountain Dew and Lipton Black Tea.

Last Wednesday was when I began making these changes. I started the day by writing chapter seven of Demon Axe. Then I went to Silverdale with my mom to exercise at the Y, get my back adjusted, and get some healthy foods at Trader Joe’s. One of the things I bought at that store was chamomile tea, which doesn’t have caffeine and serves as a digestive relaxant. All in all, I felt good that day about my creativity and my general health. It also helped that I got to have fun conversations with my mom like we always do whenever we’re in the car.

The next day, the caffeine withdrawal symptoms began kicking in. I went from being on the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. I slept longer than usual, I took multiple naps in the middle of the day, and worst of all, I didn’t want to do anything creative. In other words, by giving up the chemical that was making me lazy, I in turn became even lazier. This lasted until Monday morning, but it felt like a whole year had gone by without creative outlets. Well, I drew a picture here and there, but that was about it.

Monday arrived and my withdrawal symptoms had passed by then. I used that day to compete in the WSS contest by putting out a story called “Die Purring”. I’ve never been so happy to be awake and alive than after writing that story. I was going to be a hard worker again and I loved it. Tuesday was lacking in creative production, because the night before, I made the mistake of eating vegetarian pizza burgers right before going to bed. It’s Wednesday now and I haven’t cheated on my health regimen since.

I chose to use this day to catch up on reading and write this blog entry. Another thirty pages of “The Blade Itself” is in the books (pun intended), chapters eleven and twelve of “Never Again” have been critiqued for Marie Krepps’ review, and Edward Davies entry at the WSS has been signed, sealed, and delivered. While I may or may not use the rest of the day to do my next WSS short story or writing a chapter of Demon Axe, I feel satisfied about what I’ve done with my morning. The operative word here is “morning”, because I woke up at 7:40 today and didn’t feel exhausted in the least.

Why am I suddenly telling you guys this? Because it’s a reminder to all that sooner or later, our health is going to become important to us, whether it’s mental or physical. In the past, I’ve written songs and blog entries mocking healthy lifestyles, and there’s no telling whether or not I’ll do it again. But as much as I criticize obnoxiously healthy people, I must say that being free from caffeine’s addiction feels pretty damn good right now. I look forward to more days when I can work my ass off and put out a damn good product, or help others do the same. The creative urge is stronger than addictive chemicals. Remember that.


This week the prompt is “Quicksilver”, so I figured it was another opportunity to write a story with “mancer” in the title. Seems reasonable, right? My story will be called “The Psychomancer” (mind wizard) and it goes like this:


Tony Castle, Psychomancer
Ashley Cormier, Autistic Teenager

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Quicksilver, which is another name for mercury, has often been thought of as the link to autism since it’s used to preserve vaccination needles. Tony disputes this point during his conversation with Ashley.

SYNOPSIS: Ashley runs away from home and seeks out Tony’s help after a lengthy search. As a psychomancer, Tony is believed to be able to cure all sorts of mental diseases. When he uses his powers to find out Ashley has autism, he refuses to “cure” her. Instead, Tony tries to help her cope with it and use it to her advantage creatively and academically. Ashley doesn’t want to be autistic anymore because it makes her an easy target for bullies at her school. Instead of receiving a magical cure, she receives inspiration to just be herself no matter what anybody says or does.


Daniel Mercer has finally come down from his traumatized state thanks to Raven Triscloud. Now it’s time for him to meet King Arthur Triscloud, leader of the elven race. The elves are still convinced that Daniel has what it takes to defeat Roger Zee despite the fact that the singer’s only fighting experience comes from drunken brawls in shitty bars. Arthur has a gift that he’d like to bestow upon Daniel for such a quest, but is he really ready to accept it? Is it a weapon? Is it a prop? Is it a magic wand? What could it be?


Up next on the long list of badass characters is Christopher, the gnomish rogue from the Dungeons & Dragons game played by Brenda Christopher in “Emoticon Artist”. He may be the shortest member of the team at just three feet, but if James Ellsworth from WWE Smackdown has taught me anything, it’s that any man with two hands has a fighting chance…and two ways to masturbate.


When somebody on WWE Smackdown Live says, “See you next Tuesday”, it’s not supposed to be an insult, because they actually film episodes every Tuesday. Although, I can picture Alexa Bliss saying it to Becky Lynch right before a big Women’s Title match.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Die Purring

On a gray winter afternoon, nothing was more relaxing for Shayna Jorgenson than cozying up on the couch with her bare feet up on the ottoman and shopping for Christmas presents online with her laptop. This was much easier than going to a department store, especially since wearing pink fleece pajama pants and a white tank top was perfectly acceptable attire for internet shopping. No customers fighting among themselves for the best deals on shit they didn’t need, and no lengthy ass lines so that people would have to put up with each other for that much longer. The beauty of comfort brought a smile to Shayna’s face as she pulled the tie out of her soft chocolate hair.

Although, she had to admit that shopping for her boyfriend Edward Christian was a mystery wrapped in a riddle most of the time. They had been seeing each other for a whole year, yet Shayna didn’t have much of a grasp on what it was he truly liked. And then she saw his laptop sitting on the couch next to her and got a sneaky idea. She folded up her own laptop and logged onto his, which was easier than shopping for him since the computer wasn’t password protected. Perhaps she could get an idea of what he wanted for Christmas from poking around on his computer.

And then she had yet another naughty idea: sneaking around on his laptop to see Photography was one of Edward’s favorite hobbies and Shayna had to admit that he took some damn good pictures of her, maybe even professional grade (in case his gig at the library didn’t work out for him). And then she ventured into more dangerous territory: the porn collection.

Shayna rolled over onto her side as she surfed Edward’s porn collection with a kinky grin on her face. He definitely had some imaginative tastes. Wonder Woman in a lesbian make-out session with Princess Leia (in her golden bikini). Harley Quinn tying and gagging Lois Lane with duct tape. There was even a screenshot of Crazy K from Tales from the Hood in his black underwear being strapped to the spinning torture table, which made Shayna giggle and shake her head.

The next picture she saw erased the smile from her face and added tremor effects to her lips. She even held her stomach as she tried to keep her coffee down. There was nothing wrong with the fact that these women (and/or girls) were bare naked. It was what they were wearing on their crotches that made Shayna’s insides twist and pulsate with horror. She tried heavily breathing to calm herself down, but no matter what kind of whirlwind she sucked into her lungs, her blood continued to feel like a frigid tsunami running through her veins.

She peeked up momentarily to see her boyfriend standing in the living room with groceries in his hands and a confused expression on his face. Shayna never heard the door open, which was even creepier than what she saw on his computer. Edward asked, “Is there something you’re not telling me? What’s wrong, babe?”

Shayna closed the laptop and set it aside with shivers in her bare arms. “You know, Edward…I never had a problem with you keeping porn on your computer. But tell me…why did I just see a picture…of women wearing…diapers?!” That last word was punctuated with tears welling up in her eyes.

Edward dropped the bags of groceries at his sides and placed his hands on his hips. “Really?” he said. “You’re mad because I have a diaper fetish? So what? What’s the big deal?”

Shayna jumped up from the couch and shouted, “Children wear diapers! Old people wear diapers! You like that stuff?! You actually think that women in diapers are sexy?! What is wrong with you?!” Another wave of nausea hit her like a wrecking ball to the gut. “Oh my god…how old are those women? How old are they?!”

The blond haired, gray sweater vest wearing Edward approached his girlfriend with his arms spread out with the intention of hugging her. “Come on, baby, it’s not like that. You know me better than that.”

When he got a little too close for comfort, Shanya batted his arms away and shouted, “Don’t touch me! Don’t fucking touch me! You’re sick! You’re a sick goddamn pervert! I mean, why would anybody think that diapers are sexy?! Is that what you want me to do for you?! Huh?! You want me to dress up in a child’s diaper and pretend that I’m a big fucking baby?! Maybe you should be a Catholic priest or some shit like that!”

Edward ran his hands through his fuzzy hair and looked down at his brown dress shoes and gray slacks. Shayna plopped back down on the couch and bawled her eyes out. “I don’t even know what to say to you right now, Edward,” she said. “This is sick. This is absolutely sick.”

The boyfriend’s expression changed from crippling guilt to trembling anger as he marched over to the bookcase and pulled out a copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey” by EL James. “You see this? Look at me, damn it!” Edward shouted. “Anybody who reads crap like this has no right to judge other people for having weird fetishes! I have no illusions about diaper sex being normal. But at least I would never make you sign your life away in a fucking contract, which the main character in this disgusting book does to his girlfriend! You’re a hypocrite, Shayna! I’d rather be a crazy diaper fetishist that a flip-flopping bitch like you!”

Shayna shot right back up again and shouted, “There are no diapers in Fifty Shades of Grey! The main character specifically says that nothing he and his girlfriend will do involves children! And as I just told you, in case you didn’t fucking know, children wear diapers! I’m not going to satisfy your little NAMBLA fetish just for the sake of keeping our sex life fresh! If you want to have diaper sex so badly, run a daycare center!”

The girlfriend shuffled around looking for her shoes and socks while Edward shouted, “Yeah, that’s right! Judge me! Label me! It’s not like people don’t do that enough already! You think you’re the first one to give me shit because of my tastes?! Yes, I’m weird! I know that! And you know what?! I’m proud of that shit! Being normal is boring as hell! And if you want me to conform for you, you’re just as boring as any other faceless bastard walking the streets!”

Once Shayna got her shoes and socks on, she began to stomp her way out the front door. Before she could, Edward had one last cannonball to fire. “That’s right, walk away! Throw away an entire year of romance just because of one weird ass fetish! I’m not the freak around here! You are, bitch!”

Shayna glared at her boyfriend one more time and flipped him off before slamming the door behind her and walking away. Edward was proud of standing his ground, but even he couldn’t resist the urge to plop down on the ottoman and stroke his hair while tears were forming in his eyes. He had been in several arguments with Shayna before, but none of them have ended without resolution. All of those pedophile remarks could very well mean the end of their relationship. They were serious accusations, possibly serious enough to involve the police if things get heated.

That night, Edward Christian laid in bed with the blankets barely covering his blue shorts-wearing body. He hugged his pillow and stared at the ceiling, wondering if Shayna would ever come home to him. It was a stupid thing to fight over and a shitty way for one year of love to end. Christmas was coming up soon and if word got out that he had a diaper fetish, he would have nobody to celebrate this special holiday with. The more he thought about this, the longer he stayed up. He had stayed awake for two hours without getting one wink of sleep. When the sandman eventually came for him, he was going to sleep alone. Having that much bed space didn’t feel any more comfortable than sleeping on a park bench in the frigid weather.

“Hey, baby,” said a familiar voice in the doorway. It was the lovely Shayna Jorgenson, still dressed in PJ pants and a tank top. She also wore a look of sadness on her face, like she had spent most of the day crying as she cleared her head. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m sorry about everything. At the end of the day, we all have our weird tastes, even me. You’re right. It would be a boring world if everyone was normal. But I also know that you would never force me to do anything I didn’t want to do. I don’t want to be alone tonight. I know you don’t either.”

Edward spread his hand across the other side of the bed, signaling for his girlfriend to come lay beside him and end this silly feud once and for all. Shayna took off her tank top and revealed a white bra underneath. She breathed a deep sigh and looked down at her toes for a moment before pulling her pajama pants down and revealing a thick white diaper underneath.

Edward didn’t know whether to feel turned on and passionate or confused as hell. Shayna said, “I’m willing to try this just one time. If I don’t like it, then we won’t do it again. I feel absolutely ridiculous wearing this thing…but at the same time,” she smiled her sweet smile yet again and said, “It feels pretty soft against me.”

The boyfriend had a sexy grin on his own face as well. “I never actually had diaper sex before. I hope it’ll be as fun for you as it is for me. If it isn’t…I won’t make you sign a contract or any shit like that.”

Shayna giggled as she turned out the light and swayed her diapered hips back and forth on her way to beddy-bye with her handsome stud. One night was all they needed. One night of the strangest sex they’d ever had.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Demon Axe, Chapter 7

Despite the pounding that the Demon Axe tour van took, it did an adequate job of getting Daniel and Raven from point A to point B. The breeze blowing through the shattered windows felt good against their wrapped up wounds. The feeling of having their hair blown backwards was relaxing to where Daniel almost fell asleep at the wheel.

He couldn’t complete drift into dreamland just yet because he knew where his ultimate destination was. The thought of returning to that outdoor arena formed a knot in his stomach the size of a medicine ball. His blood ran cold like a frigid river of anxiety and depression. His skin tingled like a thousand needles impaling him. He tried the old trick of breathing deeply, but not even a hurricane force breath was enough to calm his frosty nerves.

Raven could see the terror on Daniel’s face and ruffled his hair in a small attempt to bring him back down to earth. The affectionate gesture soothed him, but only minimally as the van was getting closer and closer to the outdoor arena. When a highway sign said that it was at the next exit, that was when Daniel slammed on the brakes and pulled over on the side of the road, his breathing intensified once more.

“I can’t do this. I can’t go back there, Raven. I’ll go fucking crazy,” said Daniel through a shaky voice.

“I know this is hard for you, but you need to trust me on this one. Within the holy grounds is a portal to the elven world. You’re going to see some things that you hoped you’d never see again, but I’m here for you. I wouldn’t bring you back here if I didn’t think it was important for you to see my king. He can help you. And you can help him. Whether you know it or not, the world needs your help, Daniel,” said Raven with a soothing tone.

Daniel shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, and said, “What the fuck do I have to offer to the world? I can’t just sing my way through all of this. Music can only do so much. It was never meant to do much against a blade-swinging maniac!”

Raven placed her tender arm around Daniel’s shoulders and said, “You can do this. It’s either this or a lifetime full of pain and misery. I like your chances better when you actually put forth the effort to healing yourself. Or you can sit around in your home while bills pill up, debt collectors scream at you, and your house eventually gets taken away. You can either be traumatized at the arena, or you can be traumatized on the streets. I hate being this rough with you, but that’s the reality of it.”

After Raven removed her arm, Daniel stared out the shattered windshield with his eyes half closed and his mind numbed out. It would be another half minute before he started the van again and bolted down the highway towards the exit ramp. He felt like a human popsicle with the chilled feeling in his blood intensifying. But when he finally pulled into the parking lot, his facial expression changed from a vegetative zombie to a warrior ready to march into battle. He turned to Raven and sternly warned her, “You’d better be right about this portal. I’m not fucking around with you.”

Both passengers got out of the van and began walking around the arena with the chilly morning air blowing gently against them. All of this walking was the first real form of exercise that Daniel got ever since the incident took place. Being mobile and active actually felt good on his Novocain mind. It was common knowledge that exercise was essential to a healthy life, but feeling this sudden burst of endorphins relaxed Daniel a little bit. It also helped that Raven held his hand the entire time. They had just met and would probably never be a romantic couple in a million years, but this was a stark contrast to the “coward” labeling from back at the house.

Daniel and Raven were so busy getting their exercise in that the former failed to notice a small stump that tripped him without knocking him over. “Sorry, Vulture Man, didn’t see you there.” The Lord of the Pit realized the gravity of what he absentmindedly said. His eyes widened, his lips quivered, his body trembled, and his intestines felt like he got hit in the stomach with a baseball bat. He didn’t want to turn his head, but when he slowly did so, that was when the realization hit him like a thunderous right hand. The bureaucratic geniuses who scoped this place forgot one measly little detail: the heads and spinal columns of Daniel’s former band mates, which were covered in grass, though still visible to the naked eye.

“Daniel, please don’t cry. Please hold it together. It’ll be okay,” begged Raven with her hands together prayer-style.

After a few tears trickled down the Lord of the Pit’s shaking face, he let out a blood-curdling scream like he had just walked into a horror movie. The pathetic nature of his screaming fit caused Raven to slowly back away from him while holding her hands in a defensive, pseudo-calming gesture.

The traumatic rage sent Daniel running like a wild man into the woods where he began scraping at a nearby tree with his fingernails. He climbed up the sturdy oak like a wild animal, slipping and sliding a few times, but ultimately achieving his destination at the highest branch. He curled into a ball and rocked back and forth while muttering nonsense to himself and shedding an avalanche of tears. His head felt like he just got kicked by an angry horse with steel shoes. If he could, he would stay up in this safe place for the rest of his life. What good was he as a hero if he was constantly fleeing like this?

With more grace and athleticism than her male counterpart, Raven scaled the tree and took a seat next to Daniel while wrapping her arm around him and fluffing his hair yet again. “It’s okay, Daniel. It’s okay. You’re going to be just fine. I need you to trust me. I know of something that will help you put your mind at ease. I should have done this earlier, but I see that you need it now more than ever. You can even do this yourself if you’re ever feeling helpless.”

“Get lost, you crazy bitch! What can you possibly do to help me now?! Look at me, I’m a train wreck!” shouted Daniel. Raven placed one hand on each of his shoulders and tapped them rhythmically one at a time. “Wait a minute, what are you doing?” Daniel asked. The elf warrior continued this strange form of therapy while the Lord of the Pit’s tears started to dry up and his sitting position became more relaxed. He had no idea what his new friend was doing or why it was working, but as long as he found his temporary peace, he wouldn’t complain.

“Deep breath in…and out,” said Raven, to which Daniel complied. “If you had agreed to go to a trauma therapist, he would do this exact same thing for you, but with an electrical device or a light board. It’s called EMDR, or Eye Movement Distortion Reprocessing. I know this because I had to start doing it for my people when they experienced the trauma of having their homes invaded. While you don’t necessarily have to use your eyes to do it, it’s supposed to use both halves of your brain to deal with a traumatic memory, hence the patting of both sides of your shoulders. Psychologists swear by this treatment. And I can see it’s beginning to work for you.”

Raven continued to apply this therapeutic technique and Daniel’s breathing became deeper and more stable. She added positive messages to this unique treatment when she said, “The deaths of your band mates and the audience members are not your fault, Daniel. You didn’t swing the blade. You didn’t hold hateful beliefs in your heart. You didn’t spread terrorism of any kind. You were there to play music. The dark fantasy tropes of Demon Axe are more than just a gimmick. They’re a creative force that is just as important as the heavy metal music itself. Creativity is what will set you free in the end, not mindless conformity. You knew that when you formed Demon Axe and it’s still true to this day.”

The therapy had ended, but the recovery was just beginning for Daniel Mercer. As he looked down at his lap, he contemplated having to use this same technique in the future for the journey that lied ahead. Everything that Raven told him just then was true. Creativity killed conformity. Dark magic is not sinful. And goddamn it, the Lord of the Pit was far from finished.

He looked at Raven with dewy eyes and a renewed sense of purpose. “I’m ready. Let’s go,” he said. The two of them slowly descended the treetops and continued their walking exercise for the day. Daniel walked by the severed heads and spinal columns of his former friends and merely waved at them before saying, “I’m doing this for you guys. Your deaths will not be in vain.”

Raven patted her friend on the back and squeezed his shoulders as they trekked along the blood-bathed arena. She along with Daniel held the lives of everybody who came to the concert in their hands. They were determined to bring peace to this world and to the fallen ones if it meant using every last breath of fresh air and every last shred of strength to do it. And right at that moment, Daniel felt stronger than Greek titan.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

We Steal Tears

Death! Death! Double, double, death!
We’re addicted to this shit like crystal meth
Tears! Tears! Triple, triple, tears!
We’ve robbed you of all your childhood years
Quit! Quit! Quadruple quitting!
You want your tears back? Who’re you kidding?
Hack! Slash! Out with all the trash!
Your whole world reduced to a pile of ash

We steal tears! We steal tears!
Drown your sorrow in poisonous beers!
We steal tears! We steal tears!
Capitalizing on your deep and darkest fears!
We steal tears! We steal tears!
Your final Armageddon is drawing near!
We steal everything that you hold dear!
But that ship has already sailed from its pier!

Love! Love! You can’t get enough!
Breaking through the metal armor so tough
War! War! You’re begging for more!
Get your ass in battle and give me some gore
Experience points! Your currency of choice!
Let me hear some motherfucking noise
Lightning! Fire! Sorcerers for hire!
The final battle is getting down to the wire

We steal tears! We steal tears!
Drown your sorrow in poisonous beers!
We steal tears! We steal tears!
Capitalizing on your deep and darkest fears!
We steal tears! We steal tears!
Your final Armageddon is drawing near!
We steal everything that you hold dear!
But that ship has already sailed from its pier!

It’s nothing personal, it’s only business
This is what we do with creative vision
Sell you a story of friendship and family
And a hint of magic, it’s your final fantasy

Buy it fast! Supplies won’t last!
Rain down on your enemies with a fiery blast
Save the girl! Save the world!
Enough lusty drama to make your toes curl
Ride the golden bird! Spread the word!
Fly the airship through a world so absurd
We’re not responsible for your broken heart!
Or the inability to get that shit to restart

We steal tears! We steal tears!
Drown your sorrow in poisonous beers!
We steal tears! We steal tears!
Capitalizing on your deep and darkest fears!
We steal tears! We steal tears!
Your final Armageddon is drawing near!
We steal everything that you hold dear!

But that ship has already sailed from its pier!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Soccer Sucks

The summer sun shone down upon the gym students of Santa Consuela High School like an oven baking a pizza. As they played soccer on the school’s grass field, sweat rained down from their bodies to where their gym clothes looked like they had just gone swimming in a river. The kids and their teacher Miss Lopez were in tiptop athletic shape, so slowing down wasn’t a problem. For mildly overweight student Ben Troy, huffing, puffing, and sluggishly dragging himself across the field was as natural as the sweat pouring from his body.

Ben hated gym class so much that his muscles tightened at the though of it, only to ask himself, what muscles? He gritted his teeth together every time Miss Lopez told him to “pick it up”. No gym teacher could begin to fathom what it’s like to be overweight and constantly tired. Ben could sleep for days after a shitty soccer game like this. He was already in such a foul mood that he could blow off a firestorm of swear words at the smallest annoyance.

But instead all it took was a flying soccer ball to Ben’s ribcage. The impact stung him so badly that he dropped to his knees and screamed like a wounded lion. The other students, who paid more attention to the game than to Ben, accidentally knocked him down as they passed him by, leaving the big guy rolling around in the grass and crying in agony.

Rather than relishing in his agony, Ben nipped up and stopped the game with cacophonic vitriol. “That’s it! I fucking quit! I hate this goddamn game and I hate you stupid ass motherfuckers! Why don’t you look where the fuck you’re going next time, you goddamn faggots!”

Every student on the field had their wide eyes on him and one kid mocked him with an, “Ooo, I’m so scared!”

“Shut up, pencil dick!” shouted Ben before stomping off of the field and sitting on a metal bench with his spine and shoulders hunched over. He looked down at his black sneakers and gray athletic shorts and breathed deeply in anger. Contrary to popular belief, heavy breathing didn’t calm him down in the least. He still felt like punching the heads off of everybody on that field. Maybe he could grab them by the legs and split them in half like a banana. Those seemed like reasonable options to a pissed off kid with weight issues and a teacher who constantly told him to “pick it up”. In Ben’s mind, the only thing they would be picking up his pieces of skull off of the grassy field.

“We need to talk,” said Miss Kira Lopez.

Deep down inside, Ben always thought that his thirty-something gym teacher looked attractive with her brown skin, black ponytail, and red gym shorts. But he was in no mood to think with his penis. He wanted to strangle people. He wanted to head butt that kid who made fun of him. He wanted to rip out the spinal columns of everyone who had ever made fun of him for being bad at sports.

Miss Lopez sat down next to Ben and said, “You know you’re going to get detention for swearing at your fellow students. Sure, I don’t like being hit with a soccer ball either, but those were some pretty harsh things you said. I certainly don’t appreciate you using a homophobic slur against them. You know the one I’m talking about.”

“Faggot isn’t a gay slur. It’s a generic insult. Everybody knows that,” argued Ben, still with his crew cut-wearing head tucked against his chest.

“You can debate the semantics of an insult all day long, but that doesn’t change the fact that you just earned yourself detention. I want to see you here after school for thirty minutes. We’ve got a lot to talk about,” said Miss Lopez.

“How many minutes of detention are those morons getting for knocking my ass over and smacking me with the ball? Huh? Soccer is supposed to be a non-contact sport, which means nobody’s supposed to get hurt. If you really wanted to injure your students so badly, why don’t you teach some MMA or some shit like that? At least then, beating the shit out of students will be legal.”

Miss Lopez placed a gentle hand on Ben’s shoulder and caused him to glare at her with the viciousness of a wild wolf. She said, “Listen to me. First of all, that look your giving me doesn’t mean anything right now. You can get mad all you want, but you’re in a gym class and you have an assignment to do. Second of all, if we allowed you to beat up whoever you wanted, you’d completely miss the point of soccer. In addition to being a non-contact sport, which you alluded to earlier, soccer is a team sport. In order for a team to be successful, they have to learn how to get along. That’s what school is about: building communities. What kind of community are we going to have if you’re constantly screaming vulgar insults at your classmates and threatening to kill them?”

“If you don’t want me to do those things, then tell those kids to stop hitting me with the goddamn ball. It’s that simple. And if they do hit me with the goddamn ball, give them the same amount of detention that I have,” suggested Ben.

“You know full well that that was an accident. Sure, we should try our best to reduce the number of accidents in sports, but that doesn’t mean everybody’s going to suddenly be perfect. Whether you know it or not, those other kids are depending on you to be their rock. They need your help in achieving victory. If you’re going to deny that to them, then you’re not really part of a community at all, are you?”

Ben swatted Miss Lopez’s arm away and said, “What the fuck do they need me for? I’m just a big fat ass who’s slower than an old lady crossing the street.”

The gym teacher folded her arms and looked at her student incredulously before saying, “Is that what you really believe? Do you really think that using your weight issues as a crutch is going to bring you happiness? I know you’re unhappy with your body, which is another reason gym classes exist. I know you don’t believe this right now, but I actually want you to live a long and healthy life. I want good things for you, Ben. You’re not going to get those good things if you’re just sitting here on the bench while your teammates are losing. Come on, give them another chance. Please?”

Ben breathed heavily in and out as he contemplated this point while trying to sooth his fiery anger. He reluctantly stood back up with his fists clenched at his sides, ready to go at a moment’s notice. But then he looked down at his teacher with the same venomous glare and said, “The next motherfucker who knocks me down is getting the shit kicked out of him. I don’t care how much detention I get. I still think soccer sucks.”

The vengeful student tromped his way back on the field and engaged his classmates in even more athletic warfare. He struggled with his cardio and sucked as much air as he possibly could from this burning and humid weather. Getting the soccer ball away from his opponents while managing to stay on his feet this time was a struggle that only added to his huffing and puffing.

Deep inside he didn’t want any more trouble than he had already gotten himself into. Something about Miss Lopez’s words struck a chord with him, though he wouldn’t openly admit it. Maybe it was teenaged attraction, but this was an even worse time to think with his penis. He had a game to win and goddamn it, he was going to win come hell or high water.

After a long while of sucking in air like a cyclone, Ben finally managed to gain control of the soccer ball. The easy part was over. Now it was time to channel is rage into positivity. All of this fire burning in his belly and lungs was now being used as fuel for his newfound athleticism. He ran with the ball like a freight train bursting down the tracks. He didn’t care about his saggy belly or thunder thighs. He didn’t care about his lightheadedness or quickly beating heart and brain. He didn’t care that his insides felt like he swallowed molten steel. He had this ball and he wasn’t letting go.

After a slight bump of the shoulders with another student, Ben felt like kicking some heads. In one thunderous motion, he threw his biggest, most earth-shattering kick his heavy frame would allow. But instead of concussing another student, his raging energy was directed toward the soccer ball. It flew through the air like cannon volley and sailed past the goalie before touching the net. Prior to that goal kick, the score was ten-to-ten. With only seconds remaining, Ben Troy just scored the final kick and led his team to victory.

In the midst of all of this raspy breathing, Ben’s eyes grew wide with disbelief as his fellow teammates cheered their heads off. He was in an even bigger state of disbelief when they actually had the strength to hoist him on their shoulders in an act of celebration. A small grin formed on his pudgy face as he was lowered to the grass. He finally did it. He made a difference in a way that didn’t involve homophobic slurs or extreme violence. For that small moment, he found his happiness. And then the overweight student collapsed to the ground and blacked out.

“Somebody get some help! Call 9-1-1!” shouted Miss Lopez. That was the last thing Ben heard before taking his happy ass into dreamland, or wherever the dark side was.

Thursday, November 10, 2016



I’ve beaten this dead horse so many times that it’s nothing more than shredded flesh and bone powder. I wouldn’t blame any of my readers if they suddenly got tired of hearing about it. But if I don’t write about the topic of laziness for the hundredth time, I feel like this will be a missed opportunity. There seems to be an updated version of this song and dance every time I write about it. So here it goes.

As of today, I don’t have a whole lot going on in my life. I haven’t lifted heavy furniture or done any strenuous chores around the house for weeks now. I still don’t have a high demand for book sales. I wanted to apply for a job with What Culture, but I didn’t think I could make the cut since I’m not as knowledgeable about pop culture as the admins. I’ve been on the job application sending circuit in the past and not one boss said yes to me. The WSS and my Deviant Art page have both been slowly declining in activity since old friends are falling off the face of the earth.

So I guess it stands to reason that I have all of this time in the world to work on my creative output and boost my self-employed career as an author. I can keep putting out chapters of novels, short stories, and heavy metal lyrics in hopes that one day, just one day someone will see them and help spread my message like a virus. That’s pretty much what being an indie author is all about: hoping that the right people will see you and want to invest their time and money in you. It’s like fishing in the sense that the right lure will catch the biggest and tastiest fish.

But here’s the thing. Yes, I do have lots of free time on my hands now that my schedule is clearing up quickly. However, most of my free time has been replaced with zombie walking. In other words, I pace around the house, lay in bed, or surf the internet hoping that my motivation will come back to me. The motivation has always been there, but every time it’s time to read, write, or edit, there’s this sensation in my brain that keeps me down. It’s a combination of sensitivity and numbness (for lack of a better description) and it robs me of the energy and willpower to get any creative work done.

I thought this problem was long behind me. I’m using my CPAP every night, I’m eating less and losing weight because of it, I haven’t had a schizophrenic attack in forever, and life is comfortable in this cozy town of Port Orchard. So where exactly is this mysterious brain sensation coming from? Self-doubt? Possible depression? Dare I say, the gray weather? The outside world’s influence? Aging?

That last item is important because when I was in my teens and 20’s, I used to get shit done on a regular basis. When I worked on a novel, I wrote a chapter a day with the longest paragraphs. When I had a college assignment, I worked relentlessly on it until it was done and turned in on time. When I had my volunteer jobs here and there, I worked my ass off and made my supervisors happier than the Pillsbury Doughboy being frisked by the TSA.

So what changed? How did I go from writing a chapter or short story per day to barely getting anything in at all? Am I really feeling like an old man at 31 years old? Is my obesity really that much of an influence? Keep in mind that in my teens and 20’s, I was skinnier and drank a lot of caffeinated energy drinks. I’ve since shot back up to 300 lbs. and I can’t drink Red Bulls anymore because they make my heart race. Maybe there’s also something about not having a routine schedule that makes me sluggish. Maybe I have to have work in order to do work.

I don’t claim to have all of the answers to my own dilemma, but I’d like at least some idea of what’s going on. I’ve read articles on procrastination and boredom and they’ve suggested that irregular sleep cycles, lack of exercise, and too much caffeine were among the reasons for that. Those seem like easy problems to rectify, but you have to remember that sleeping late, eating fast food, and drinking caffeine are all addictive behaviors. It’s just another way for my own brain to fuck with me. Thanks, brain.

Laying around and walking like a zombie might seem like paradise to someone with an overworked schedule. But make no mistake about it: there’s nothing glorious about feeling sluggish. There’s nothing normal about not being able to do what you love because of a technicality in your own fucked up mind. I repeat: a technicality, with many loose explanations, but no concrete answers. I see people brag about how hard they work and it hurts that I can’t put in as much firepower as them, all because…of a technicality in my goddamn brain. It’s a technicality that seldom existed in my younger years and little has changed now that I’m a 31-year-old.

If I could put out creative project after creative project 24/7 for the rest of my life, trust me, I would. I love writing. I love reading. I love editing. I even love my drawings and photography even though they’re not my main products. Common sense dictates that doing these things more often than I do would increase my happiness and fulfill my hardworking nature. So why am I not doing them? Because of a technicality, that’s why.

By this time in the blog entry, the dead horse is beyond necromancy. Not even Papa Shango’s silly magic from 1992 WWE television will be enough to animate this horse’s dead body. It used to be that every time I talk about this subject, the next day would result in a cornucopia of creativity. Maybe that’s what will happen tomorrow, maybe not. I don’t know anymore. It’d be nice to have some solid answers, but who do I look like, Dick Tracy?


“Go ahead, Miz, go do what you do best! Whatever it is, it sure as hell isn’t wrestling!”

-Daniel Bryan-

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Brandon Sanderson's Rules of Magic


You’re probably wondering why I’m posting a blog entry about Brandon Sanderson when I haven’t read a single one of his books (yet). Well, it all began when I started seeing the author’s name plastered across many Good Reads forums and status updates. I had to check out what all of the hubbub was about, so I looked him up on Wikipedia. Not only is he a fantasy author with many accolades and publications to his name, but he came up with three rules for magic powers when writing stories. These rules were designed to cut down on Deus Ex Machina situations and present something that was believable to even the most skeptical audiences. Adam Blampied, a contributor to the pop culture website What Culture, once complained that magic didn’t have any boundaries and therefore created too many unseen variables and impossible situations for the heroes. He has a valid point, one that I’d like to answer with Brandon Sanderson’s three rules for magic:

  1. An author’s ability to solve conflict satisfactorily with magic is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic.
  2. Limitations are greater than powers.
  3. Expand what you already have before adding something new.

When it comes to my own writing, I may have broken these three rules at least a dozen times, maybe two or three dozen. I haven’t had any complaints from my readers about Deus Ex Machina endings, but that doesn’t mean my magical stories didn’t have the potential for them.

For example, some of you may have read a short story I wrote called “Dark Fantasy Rock Goddess”, where a singer-songwriter named Autumn Smith hires a sorcerer mercenary named Bloodshark to be her bodyguard during a performance in a rowdy orc bar. Bloodshark has the ability to throw lightning, ice, and fire spells willy-nilly with as little or as much power as he wants, no exceptions. I never established limits on Bloodshark’s powers nor did I specify what they were until the battle scene. He ended up slaughtering the entire audience of that orc bar with his magical abilities alone. Because Autumn has no magic powers of her own, she’s helpless against Bloodshark and succumbs to his might. The point of the story wasn’t the magic itself; it was the twist at the end where Bloodshark reveals himself to be an obsessive fan who doesn’t take no for an answer from any of his female clients. That twist could have very well been my saving grace when it comes to avoiding Deus Ex Machina.

While I have a good track record for writing believable endings, it doesn’t mean I’m undefeated. I recently wrote a short story called “Burning Dragon”, where a humanoid dragon mercenary (man, I’m obsessed with mercenaries!) named Brock Soulburn is hired to retrieve a magical demon mask called Night Terror that originally belonged to a tribe of barbaric orcs (I’m also obsessed with orcs!). The mask comes to life and terrorizes Brock in the same way Bugs Bunny would terrorize Elmer Fudd: with silly cartoonish antics, of course. Brock gives up on his mission, but teams up with Night Terror to rip off the orc tribe of its gold. In the final moments of the story, Brock wears Night Terror like a real mask and suddenly his fire-breathing powers are more devastating than before and also include the ability to steal souls of everybody who gets torched. Again, there was no mention of these abilities before, but Edward Davies, a stalwart participant in the WSS contests, told me that he believed the ending because the situation reminded him of the Jim Carrey movie from the 90’s called “The Mask”. I’d trust Edward with my life, so I don’t have much of a reason to doubt his judgment. But there’s still that lingering threat of my readers crying Deus Ex Machina if they took a gander at “Burning Dragon”.

As I said at the beginning of this entry, I’ve never read a Brandon Sanderson book before, so I don’t have the benefit of absorbing his writing style and subconsciously applying it to my own writing. But if someone with his accolades says that Deus Ex Machina endings will kill a good story, you’d better believe every word. These kinds of endings used to be popular in ancient Greek theatre, but in modern times, they get scoffed at and rightfully so.

And while you’re establishing limits and rules for your story’s magic system, it’s important to remember that writing is designed to be invisible. Instead of explicitly listing these rules and limitations (which would be telling), sneak them in there through believable dialogue and little opportunities to use said magic (which would be showing). I do want to apply Brandon Sanderson’s logic to my writing, but it’s something I have to work on since authors are supposed to be stealthy when putting pen to paper. I’d like to think I’ve come a long way in the show vs. tell department ever since working with Marie Krepps. But make no mistake about it: stealthy writing takes lots of practice and you still might not get it right the first time. All authors struggle with showing instead of telling. All of them. Not some of them. Every last one of them, including my sensei herself, Marie, who openly admitted it to me one day.

If you have helpful tips to give to me or other authors as to how to stealthily establish limits in magical powers, don’t be shy about posting them. In the words of Red Green, I’m pulling for you; we’re all in this together.


This past Saturday, I saw a concert at the Tacoma Dome where Shinedown was the second to last act to play onstage that night. The prompt for this week’s WSS contest is “Shine Down”. This coincidence couldn’t have been timed any better. The only way that could be any more awesome is if next week’s contest had a “Five Finger Death Punch” prompt. But for this week, my entry will be called “Soccer Sucks” (another school-themed story). It goes like this:


  1. Ben Troy, Sour Gym Student
  2. Kira Lopez, Gym Teacher

PROMPT CONFORMITY: The soccer game takes place outside, where the sun will “shine down” upon the students and add to Ben’s crankiness due to the extreme heat.

SYNOPSIS: The one part about high school Ben dreads the most is physical education, particularly when they’re playing sports. He hates soccer the most and his anger shows on the field when he is (accidentally) struck with the ball and knocked to the ground several times. Ben blows off steam at his classmates before taking a permanent seat on the bench. Miss Lopez tries to talk him into getting back in the game, but after a series of false answers, Ben simply says, “The next guy who knocks me down is getting his ass kicked!”


Q: Where do Seattlites go to scratch the paint off of parked cars?
A: The Key Arena.