Archive Page 3


Too Hot

I can’t work like this. No, really. Given all my problems, dealing with 100+ degree temperatures is just too much.

It’s Oregon, damnit! It’s supposed to be 50 degrees and damp year round! Or so the brochures told me. Instead we’re on year 3 of heatwaves and record temperatures all summer long. Even inside, with a portable air conditioner running, it’s still 80+ every day, all day, and that’s almost outside my realm of tolerance. It’s certainly not comfortable.

Upstairs, though, that’s the problem. You see, that’s where my workstation is. Mock the insanity of a severe asthmatic who has issues walking and talking putting his computer and such upstairs, but there wasn’t really anywhere else to put the stuff. The apartment is kinda small. But, as we all learned in elementary school, heat rises.

There’s no AC up here. I have a couple of industrial fans, but all they seem to do is move the hot air around. Staying up here long enough to write a quick blog post is torture, and doing it long enough to get work done on my game projects or actually write is just not feasible. This is frustrating, since my mood is such that I actually want to work on things, and essentially can’t.

The heat is the enemy. I hate it. I loathe it. But this too shall pass… or so they tell me. My bones are screaming, which says rain is coming. I could do for a nice six hour long thunderstorm right about now, so keeping my fingers crossed.

What about those of you out there? Is the heat getting to you as well? How does it impact your work and leisure time? What do you do about it? Let us know down below!


Do You Believe In Spooks?

Well… do ya?

I do.

I’ve had enough situations in my life that just can’t be explained through any normal means that I feel I kind of have to. I’d love to find rational explanations – though using the phrase “rational” here implies belief in spooks is somehow “irrational,” which seems awfully judgmental to me – but until I do, the ghosts are the answer. It’s kind of frustrating, really.

How do you explain waking up to find both you and your girlfriend bleeding profusely from numerous wounds that certainly weren’t there before you went to bed?

How do you wave away gashes and holes appearing in the walls of a room that no one goes in appearing overnight? Especially when it happens right after your brilliant girlfriend and her buddy start the usual crap of “give us a sign that you’re here!” Or how ever after, no one could sleep in that room, no matter who you rented it out to or if you bothered to tell them about previous tenants or not?

There’s others, though nothing so dramatic as those two. I try to find rational explanations. The girlfriend got a little nutty and decided to dose my coffee, slice away at both of us, hide the knife, then “wake up” screaming to call attention to the situation. The walls were poorly made, the plaster just happened to fall apart in patterns that pareidolia decided to interpret as tridactyl claw marks, and the eight people who tried to sleep in the room and were run off by insomnia and nightmares just all happened to have mental problems, insecurity or a bad drug trip just that one time. It doesn’t work so well.

That doesn’t mean I stop looking for other explanations. Some people specifically ask me to debunk things, to come up with alternate explanations, and I’m more than happy to oblige. I try to follow the scientific method; find a way to break it, and keep trying until I do or run out of ideas. Only then do I say “Spooks, I guess,” and move along… though nothing really leaves the mind, and I keep gnawing at it.

What about you folks out there? Have you had something happen, dramatic or not, that you can’t find a rational explanation for? What was it, and what did you try to do to debunk it? Maybe we can all banish each other’s oogity boogities.

It’d make me feel a lot happier and more secure in my house… which has a room the cats refuse to go in, that makes weird noises, and has lights that come on in the middle of the night, no matter how often you make sure to turn them off before bedtime.

Until next time, folks.


REBLOG: Writing a Killer Hook — Penstricken

It’s the first line that can make or break just about anything; here’s some helpful advice about getting that line in the right place at the right time! Make sure to visit the original site for more!

Your hook is the very first thing that happens in your novel and it should grab the audience from the very first sentence.

Writing a Killer Hook — Penstricken


REBLOG: How to Make a Living with Your Writing — SACHA BLACK

Some interesting and hopefully helpful tips! Make sure to stop by the original site for more!

Last year, I was honored to be a speaker at the Children’s Book Mastery conference. I spoke to Karen, CEO of the Get Your Book Illustrations company all about how to make a living with your writing. This is a summary of the session. Welcome to Karen and my deepest thanks for allowing me to…

How to Make a Living with Your Writing — SACHA BLACK

What Is There To Say?

Blogging is hard.

I know, that sounds like such a stupid, whinging thing to say, but it is. It’s hard to think of something to say every day – or nearly every day – just to keep your site moving, to keep getting those little dinging bells that say “You’re on a streak!,” to keep people around and justify the money you spend every year to keep your butt parked squarely on your domain name and not fade into complete obscurity.

It’s compounded when you feel like anything you have to say is useless, or has already been said a hundred times before, or will get you cancelled or one someone’s naughty list. Add in a dose of depression, a soupçon of paranoia, and a dash of terror and you have the recipe for why I go silent for long periods of time.

But then, brilliant mind I, figured out what to do… let’s ask the readers! So for those twenty or so brave souls who regularly stop by and click the “like” button every so often, what is it you’d like to see me talk about? What topics would keep you coming back, and what would drive you off? Let us know down below! (Please?)


The Trophy Hunt

Trophy hunting is still a thing, despite not having had any updates in a while. I managed to pull to level 52 on PSN, for whatever that may be worth.

Since it would be excessive, and probably almost impossible to sort out, listing everything since the last one of these updates isn’t going to be the idea; instead you get a quick peek at what I’m currently working on. There’s four games I want to touch on today.

First up, Persona 5. Yes, it’s old. Yes, I recently coaxed the platinum from its upgraded cousin, Persona 5 Royal. But given that it’s been sitting on my shelf since release – it was picked up shortly before moving, and got lost in the shuffle – I figured I might as well go back and finish this one. It’s JRPG goodness to the core, with the typical ultra-hard, heavily reliant on weaknesses and stat buffs and debuffs combat that all Shin Megami Tensei games are known for, with an excellent plot and great characters. Well, except for Haru. She still sucks. The trophy list in the original version is a bit more painful than the Royal update, however; the worst offender – and the one I’m most concerned about causing me to miss the Platinum – is to hear 250 of Futaba’s “Navigation” lines.

Basically what that entails is making sure in every combat you try every spell and attack type. Hope you get plenty of crits and reflects. Let your party members get their asses kicked, by suffering criticals and weakness attacks themselves. Let your party members rot with no health. Make sure they miss a few attacks, and let them die a few times. Make sure you try every form of negotiation on most enemy types. Baton pass constantly, swap Joker’s Persona far more often than you need to. It makes combat go from rapid fire win-or-loss affairs into clunky slogs where a spreadsheet can be your friend… and then she repeats lines half the time. Ugh.

The rest of the game is pretty standard; max out your Social Links, fuse all the Personae, beat the game and get the true ending, kill the optional bosses. All doable, and fun enough. But that one Futaba trophy…

Next is sort of a double header; Dragon Quest Heroes, both 1 and 2. They’re made by Omega Force, the folks behind Dynasty Warriors and its eight million spinoffs, which means they should be right up my alley. It’s not.

The first game is far worse than the second, but combat is slow and clunky, with frequent enemies who have 10k+ HP – while you do an average of 100 damage per swing, if you’re lucky. The boss monsters are even worse, and the “optional” veteran bosses are in the hundreds of thousands of HP with plenty of one-hit kills… and they’re all required for the Platinum. But that’s not the worst of it.

The Puff-Puffs. Oooooh, the Puff-Puffs. See, after a battle, there’s a chance your party members will give you a Puff-Puff. What precisely that entails varies by the character, but it’s totally random if you get one or not. It’s also random which character will give you one. The possibility of it happening is extremely low. I had 1 by the time the main story was done. There are twelve party members. As I write this, with hundreds of missions and repeats under my belt, I’m still only to 10/12. I hate RNG trophies, and I especially hate ones that have low rates of success. This one layers both of those multiple times.

Then there’s the enemies and their crowd control. Almost every enemy can stun you. Most of them have sweeping attacks that fling you into the air, or freeze you, or put you to sleep. This means you spend a significant amount of time mashing the dodge button and crossing your fingers, or sitting there twiddling your thumbs while enemies beat the everloving crap out of you and you can do nothing about it. At all. Awesome.

DQH2 is better in a lot of respects – combat is faster, more akin to a standard Musou game, fewer crowd controlling enemies, a nice almost open world design – but the trophy list still includes the Puff-Puffs and an almost ridiculous amount of grinding. We’ll see if I can endure it.

Lastly is Spirit Hunter: Death Mark. Now, yes, I did already do that one on Vita, and normally I object to stacking. But the PS4 version includes an additional case, and damnit, I love the game. I want to see everything it has to offer. So thanks to the wonders of GameFly, I’m doing it again, with the new ghost to fight.

Final opinions? Persona 5, if you haven’t already played it, is wonderful… just be wary of keeping Futaba happy. I’d recommend skipping it in favor of the Royal version, though. Dragon Quest Heroes? Don’t even start it. The sequel? More fun, but expect a hundred hours of grinding if you open that door. Death Mark? Even if you don’t normally like VNs or adventure games, I heartily recommend it – and its sequel, NG, though Death Mark is still the better of the two in my opinion.

Until next week, folks, happy hunting!


Shameless Self Promotion – Insomniac Nightmares

Those who pay attention have likely already seen this… but I have a new book out. Insomniac Nightmares is a collection of short stories, some seen previously, others new. It also includes “Little Miss No Name,” the story of my darling daughter, and one of the few things I’ve written that I can stand to reread without piles of self-loathing.

Little Miss No Name and her favorite doggy. How can you resist that face?

Anyway, if you’re in the mood to read some scary stories, you’ll find a few in here. At least, I think they’re scary. You can find the links below for both the print and Kindle editions. If you pick it up – or already picked it up – please consider leaving a review; it helps me know what I got right and wrong, so I can get better next time.

Thanks for your time; we now return you to your regularly scheduled blog posts.


Invisibility and Disability

Hey. I have to tell you something.

I’m disabled.

Yep. I know. Shocker. You wouldn’t know it to look at me; you might notice I’m missing my top teeth, or that I’m overly heavy even given my great height, or that I have thick-ass glasses, but none of those things really qualify as a “disability,” in any meaningful sense.

But I’m still disabled. I have bipolar depression. I have mild schizophrenia. I have asthma that packs enough of a punch walking for three minutes is almost outside of my ability, talking for more than a minute or two at a stretch is going to take a dose of albuterol, and anything more strenuous than either is going to lay me on my ass for hours or require a nebulizer treatment, which has its own side effects and risks that are almost as nasty as the root problem itself. My back is so out of whack that standing, sitting, and laying down have to be constantly switched between, unless I want it to seize up completely. I need surgery for my lungs to try to make them not degenerate any further. There’s medications for all these conditions, and I take ’em all, but they all add their own side effects and problems… like completely borking my sleep schedule, so I get maybe two hours at a stretch and have to go take two or three naps to get through the day. Fun stuff.

When people talk about disabilities, they expect people with big ass sunglasses who are blind, people who are missing an arm or a leg or have some other hideous and obvious disfigurement. They look at someone who looks mostly put together, and assume that person must be faking or lying… and usually aren’t shy about voicing that opinion and berating the person.

When you have a person like me, who has invisible disabilities and a nice bundle of mental illness with suicidal ideation, and then shit all over them because you think they’re faking it, or lying, or exaggerating, it’s not helping in the slightest. It only makes it worse.

So, for your good deed for the day, try not assuming you know what a disability looks like, or who has one, or what one might feel like. I’m not saying straight up “listen and believe,” because there are plenty of people who will pull the card for sympathy or an excuse, but I am saying “keep your disbelief to yourself, if you’re not a medical professional or working for the SSA or an employer’s disability claims department.” Because if you’re not one of those people, it’s really none of your damn business, now is it?

Sorry, everyone. Just feeling more curmudgeony than usual, I suppose. But, as noted, my lungs are turning to mush and they say I need surgery for it; if you want to help me get that surgery, consider stopping by my GoFundMe. It helps. Thanks, everyone.


Reblog: The Waiting Game — Ham ‘N Eggs

A friendly reminder not to give up, as well as a useful idea on how to keep track of where you’ve submitted, who said no, and who you still need to keep an eye on.

Once upon a time, I was in theater. You name it, I did it: writing, directing, acting, stage managing, various crew positions…I was a Jill of all trades. I learned an immense amount of skills in my ten years walking the boards, and while I don’t do it anymore, I don’t regret a second. My […]

The Waiting Game — Ham ‘N Eggs

Some people take things way too literally — Writer’s Treasure Chest

Originally posted on bluebird of bitterness: I couldn’t resist the re-blog. These are so hilarious! Thanks, Bluebird, once more, for the laugh! bluebird of bitterness View original post

Some people take things way too literally — Writer’s Treasure Chest

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