Share your World 28 March 2019


Here are some questions I've answered for Share Your World. You can read them if you want. Or not, if you don't want. No skin off my nose either way.

What is the best pick me up that you know of?  To shake you out of the blues?

The Blue Garage
Photoshop Image by The Real Cie

How about the blues? The blues is a goddamn art form! That shitty way I feel when my soul starts crashing in on itself and I feel like I'm lying dead at the bottom of a scummy trench? I think that shit should be called "the gray-green death bile from hell." But that's too long to say readily.
Here is a poem which Pepper, the main female protagonist in Team Netherworld's long-running WIP, Fetch, wrote for her beloved Gerry, the Fetch referred to in the story's title. I think it's kind of a poem about having the blues for the blues. 

What would be the title of your memoir?
Dark Days: Biography of a Self-Professed Cynic

Where do you like to go when you eat out?
Somewhere cheap where the food tastes good and I'll be served quickly.

Do you believe in luck?
Gratitude Question:

Aside from necessities, what is one thing you couldn’t go a day without?
My son

Notes:
I referenced my own work in this post, which for some reason makes me see the need to mention that I plan to participate in NaPoWriMo in April as I've done every year for the past several years. I'm also planning to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo. I might try to participate in the A to Z blogging challenge if it doesn't turn out to be too muckin' fuch. I haven't decided yet if my participation will be official or unofficial.

Weekend Writing Warriors 3 April 2019


The following is a snippet from our forthcoming book, Carnal Invasion XI: The Festivities Commence, which is due for release on April 20, 2019. This one heats up pretty quickly, but as the randy denizens of Climax Castle are soon to discover, not all of their guests are there for fun and games.

“I do love how art imitates life,” Ulrich chuckled. “It means we don’t have to work very hard to give a convincing performance. Lights, if you please! Let the show begin!”
As the lights dimmed in the courtyard, a cloaked figure watched the proceedings from the shadows with critical rather than lustful eyes. The figure mingled with the crowd milling in and out of Climax Castle and strode casually down a service corridor, waving a hand before the locked door leading to the tunnel system which connected Climax Castle and Mistress Kali’s lair. The lock froze and crumbled when struck by the cloaked figure’s staff.
The shadowy figure strode down the dark passageway and into Mistress Kali’s currently quiet lair.

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

Note:
I'm not sure my contribution was missed last week, I always hate to make assumptions regarding any unlikely popularity I may inspire. On the off chance that it was, here is the rather unglamorous reason. My son and I have been working on clearing out a storage unit and needed to have everything out by the end of March. I got my snippet ready too late to participate in last week's event.

Real Cie Reviews: Stephanie

Shree Crooks as the title character in the 2017 film Stephanie

Rating: 2 of 5 stars

Young Shree Crooks gives a spellbinding performance in this otherwise forgettable film which can't seem to decide what it wants to be when it grows up. Is it a possession story, alien invasion flick, poltergeist tale, or an evil telekinetic kid thriller? Without giving away the plot for those who want to watch it, this film has some elements of all of these tropes, plus jump-scares to spare.
The film echoes elements of Arthur C. Clarke's chilling classic science fiction novel "Childhood's End"--badly. The producers should have studied the 1960 British film Village of the Damned, which did an excellent job in the presentation of its creepy, super-powerful children. While Stephanie has a few strikingly disturbing scenes, such as the moments that the character spends with her dead brother, Paul, the film is too disjointed to be salvaged by these moments.
Stephanie isn't the worst film that I've seen. I wish I could say something better about it than that.

~Cie~

Inspire Me Monday #220: If I Could Change the World

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

I have spent my life being angry with and beating up on myself for having a brain that works differently from the way "normal" people's brains work. I have been chided for being disorganized, scatterbrained, a daydreamer, distractible, on one hand unable to continue on a given train of thought for long periods of time, on the other hand, obsessive to a fault with certain issues. I have never been good at sleeping during the hours when "normal" people who work "normal" jobs sleep. 
I can be extremely productive and I can follow directions, but I hate being told what to do and I hate punching time clocks. (Unless I can punch them with my fist and break them. Then I'm okay with punching time clocks.) I much prefer soft deadlines to hard and fast ones. I'm good at filing because I enjoy words, including names. I tend to do well with online classes, not so good with classes where I have to show up in person because I have a tendency to run a few minutes late.
On one hand, in spite of being painfully shy by nature, I love to act and have very little in the way of stage fright. However, if you ask me to do anything which involves public speaking, I would prefer that a sinkhole open under me and swallow me. My voice shakes so badly that no-one can understand a word that I'm saying. Public speaking sucks for me.
I don't like doing customer service jobs because of my social anxiety, but I've often ended up pigeonholed into customer service jobs. I'm okay making small talk. My current job is "customer service lite." I see the customer for a minute or two, smile, hand them their food, and wish them a good evening. Then I get back on the road and cuss out the terrible traffic and sometimes the other drivers and the fools who insist on jaywalking across busy streets. None of them ever hear me, but it's happening.
There are plenty of remote phone answering jobs. It's hard to find WAH jobs that don't involve answering the phone. I'm hoping to finish my Bachelor's in English writing because having a degree will open up a few more possibilities for working remotely.
This world is not made for people with brains like mine, and the "advice" (translate: scolding) I have received over the years has always been the same.

YOU JUST need to change.
YOU JUST need to go to sleep at a "reasonable hour."
YOU JUST need to stop that stinkin' thinkin'.
YOU JUST need to give up on this silly writing nonsense and get a nice normal job in an office like nice normal people do.
YOU JUST need to stay awake and not fall asleep during class or meetings.
YOU JUST need to smile and pretend things are okay regardless of how you really feel. Lots of people have it harder than you do. 
YOU'RE JUST being selfish.
YOU JUST need to stop being such a crybaby.
YOU JUST need to toughen up, to exercise more, to just push through it no matter how tired you think you feel. How can you be that tired? 
YOU JUST need to stop being lazy.
YOU JUST need to be more like normal people
YOU JUST need to stop being this way.
YOU JUST need to not be you anymore.

For most of my life, my own inner dialogue has echoed what people have told me. I'm bad, I'm wrong, I'm selfish, I'm weak, I'm lazy, I'm stupid, I'm worthless. And I don't want to be me anymore.
My son has a different brain too. His differences aren't exactly the same as mine, although there are some common experiences. He is on the autism spectrum. He has ADHD, although his presents in ways that are more typical for girls than boys. He finds it impossible to learn from textbooks, although he has no problem reading. He reads classic science fiction and fantasy novels regularly. He has social anxiety with a degree of agoraphobia, and he has unipolar depression. He has never responded well to medications. 
When my son was young, I tried to push him to do things that he didn't really want to do so he wouldn't end up being a "loser" like me. Once he was in his teens, I backed off, in part because I had finally received a diagnosis of bipolar 2, which meant that I was able to deal with some of my own issues. I saw that my behavior was driving a wedge between me and the most important person in my life, so I stopped forcing him to participate in activities which he, in fact, found stressful, such as being on the youth soccer team.
In spite of now understanding my emotional ups and downs better, I never dealt with my need to always be proving to others that I was a "good person" and not a "loser." When I could work physically difficult jobs such as nursing, I was able to find work on the night shift. I hated having to work specific hours, but I much preferred nights to days. 
I still didn't sleep well, but it was easier to make myself go to a night shift job and most of the time I ended up physically sick rather than clinically depressed. I worked even when I was sick unless it was completely impossible to do so, and my employers praised me for being so diligent, even though the truth was, I was putting the people I was caring for in danger by working when I was sick.
I am no longer able to do rigorous physical work, and my wages have placed me below the poverty level ever since I lost my nursing job in 2017. I've spent a lot of time being ashamed of myself and berating myself. I never would have been as cruel to anyone else as I have been to myself. 
I have decided to stop doing this. It does nothing except for sending me on a ride to Depressionville. I am currently in a euthymic mindset, possibly boarding a rocket to Hypomania Town, which is both good and bad. It's good because I tend to get things done when I'm hypomanic. It's bad, because of the crash that inevitably follows the hypomania. I rapid cycle, which actually does not make things any easier. However, I have learned to try and be productive during the euthymic and hypomanic phases, and I am going to use this time to call county social services and inquire as to exactly why they have never given me SNAP despite my wages putting me below the poverty level. (Yes, I have applied for SNAP. I got Medicaid, but not SNAP.)
I do not want to be dependent on anyone else for my well-being or my living arrangements. I still hope that one day the work I've been doing with my blogging and other online activities will eke out at least a small income for me. 
The way our society is set up currently, we miss out on the skills and talents of a lot of people who might be very diligent workers in their own right but cannot conform to a rigid 9 to 5 type schedule and who might be very productive for a time but then end up fighting depression for a while and not be very productive. For someone like my son, his circadian rhythms are a bit whacky and so he can't commit to a set schedule because sometimes he sleeps "normal" hours, and sometimes he isn't able to fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. 
I do not believe that drugs are the answer to issues such as this.
We live in a technologically advanced society. I believe that the 9 to 5 schedule and commuting to a job are archaic ideas in many cases. There are studies which have shown that people are much happier and healthier working a six-hour day rather than an eight to twelve hour day. 
Certainly, there are jobs which require people to be physically present, including police, fire, and medical jobs. However, there are many jobs still requiring people to show up to work at a given location which could now be done remotely. Making certain clerical jobs remote rather than on-location could drastically reduce traffic problems as well.
I know that to some my thoughts may seem like so much pie in the sky. Personally, I believe society would change for the better were we to implement these changes. People who were formerly unable to work would now be able to contribute to society. With less stress and more time for their families, people would be happier as a whole.
If I could change the world, this is what I'd do.

~Cie~



Review of Rebecca for Insecure Writers Support Group Book Club


This post is a duplicate of my review of this book on Goodreads.

Technically, I didn't read this book. I listened to it. 
It's a bit difficult to review this book without spoilers, but I will endeavor to do so.
I didn't expect to be as taken in by the story as I was. I thought it would be a romance, but it really was not. I read in Daphne du Maurier's biography on Wikipedia that she disliked being pigeonholed as a romance writer. She stated that her stories tended to be dark and rarely had happy endings. Romance stories may have dark moments but everything generally turns out right in the end.
It needs to be understood that this book was published more than 80 years ago and has some dated ideas about people with developmental disabilities and about sexual orientation which most modern people would find offensive. 
From the description, the character Ben appears to have Down syndrome, and is referred to as an "idiot." At the time the book was written, terms like "idiot" and "moron" were medical terms. At one point, Mrs. Danvers states that Rebecca "hated all men," the implication being that she was a lesbian, which was considered a perversion at the point in time when the book was written. While these ideas are offensive to modern sensibilities, it is worthwhile to recognize them as a product of a less enlightened era and enjoy what the story as a whole has to offer.
I found myself enthralled with the tale from the very start. As a plain-looking woman in a society that places a lot of value on a certain type of female attractiveness, I identified with the narrator's insecurities. She became obsessed with what Rebecca represented while initially having very little knowledge of who or what Rebecca actually was.
This story offers up many surprises, including one that had me exclaiming "OH!" aloud as I was driving along listening. My eyes widened, and I put my hand over my mouth. I can only imagine what the drivers around me were thinking of my completely justifiable reaction. That reveal was a doozy!
In some ways, Rebecca challenges the reader to question whether any of our individual perceptions qualify as "reality." The characters often find themselves in the position of learning that beliefs which were an integral part of themselves are erroneous. 
Other questions raised include whether or not wealth equates with happiness. Certainly, having adequate funds at one's disposal alleviate the stress of being unable to meet the basic needs such as shelter, nourishment, and clothing. However, many of the characters in Rebecca are wealthy, and none of them seem particularly happy.
Truth or the lack thereof is a recurring theme throughout the story. Is anyone ever able to be entirely honest about themselves, even with themselves? There are the lies that one tells the public in attempting to keep up appearances. There are the lies that one tells others, either to protect oneself or the other individual. Then there are the lies that one tells oneself. 
Other than the ingenuous narrator, hardly any of the major characters are particularly likable. Maxim is a troubled, middle-aged widower who is often emotionally manipulative and who marries the narrator, a woman approximately half his age, after a very brief courtship. Mrs. Danvers is judgmental, jealous, and secretive. Frank is kind but a bit of a toady. Beatrice is well-intentioned but interfering, and there are upper-class twits aplenty.
There are moments when Rebecca is darkly humorous, and others when it is simply dark. If the reader is seeking a sweet, old-fashioned romance, this isn't it. However, if the reader is seeking a darkly intense tale that is full of surprises, including some which may make the reader exclaim aloud, this is the book you are looking for.

These are my replies to the group discussion questions:
1. Did it bother you that we’re never told the main character’s first name or maiden name (before she becomes Mrs. de Winter)? Did you notice?

It did and it didn't. It wasn't necessary to know her name, but the nit-picky part of me wishes I did.

2. From Rebecca, Chapter 1: "The woods, always a menace even in the past, had triumphed in the end. They crowded, dark and uncontrolled, to the borders of the drive." 

A) When you write setting, does the setting itself become a character that aids the main characters?

I think that it can and that Daphne du Maurier does this very well.

B) Do you give the setting actionable parts? 

I suppose I do. I never really thought about it before. The setting does take certain actions which add to the story.

3. From Rebecca, Chapter 5: "I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love, For it is a fever, and burden, too, whatever the poets may say. They are not brave, the days when we are twenty-one. They are full of little coward-ices, little fears without foundation, and one is so easily bruised, so swiftly wounded, one falls to the first barbed word." 

Question: It is not a scene description but a description of emotion using power words delivered in a descriptive way. Have you ever delivered emotion as descriptive cadence using power words? 

I honestly don't know. I suppose I must have at some point.

4. Do you use setting to bring your characters, mood, and atmosphere to life?

From Rebecca, Chapter 25: "There would be other people touching his shoulder, and touching mine, but we would not see them. Nor would we speak or call to one another, for the wind and the distance would carry away the sound of our voices."

I think I do use the setting in this way. I don't do it consciously, I just let the story tell itself.

5. For your own personal taste, do you think there was too much description for settings/scenes in Rebecca or just enough? 

Apologies for sounding like a fangirl, but I found the descriptions to be absolutely perfect and felt that they enhanced the tale quite well.

If you are interested in joining me at the Insecure Writers Support Group book club on Goodreads, click this link.

If you are interested in joining the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop, click the banner at the end of the post. 

If you are interested in reading or listening to Rebecca, I will provide links following the post as well!

~Cie~




Real Cie Reviews; Surviving the Forest by Adiva Geffen


Rating: Five of Five Stars

I recently watched Downfall, a movie which depicts the last days of Hitler and his comrades while confined to a bunker as Berlin falls around them. I remarked to my son that watching this movie was like watching a video filmed in the bunker itself. It was that realistic.
This book has a similar feel.
From the idyllic days of Shurka's childhood to the troubled times which come to her small village to the horrifying devastation when the Nazis bring their efforts to exterminate the Jews to Shurka's home, I felt as if I was right there with Shurka and her family.
While reading of the atrocities committed by one human being on another, part of me wants to believe that the Holocaust was a nightmare, a work of fiction, anything but reality. However, one cannot allow oneself to turn a blind eye. Nationalism is a dangerous mindset. One must always be critical of one's government and officials and never become entrapped in any sort of extremist ideology.
I wept openly while reading this book. It is a tremendously powerful work. The writing style is easy to read while not being overly simplistic. There are a few minor grammatical and punctuation issues, but no flaws in the storytelling itself.
I feel that this book could be an excellent addition to a course on the history of World War II. Seeing the events of the time through the eyes of a sympathetic character would encourage students to develop empathy for those who lived through the horrors of the Holocaust rather than simply memorizing dates and military data.
The events of the Holocaust must never be forgotten. This is is a very important story. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

~Cie~


Carnal Invasion X is Live and Free for Five Days


Hold onto your hats, lovers of all things lewd, crude, and out-of-this-world Naughty! Carnal Invasion X is yours for free between March 18, 2019, and March 23, 2019. Don't miss out on this chance to grab this piece of otherworldly lusty action for the unbeatable price of Zilch!
In this installment, a team of agents from the Alien and Supernatural Search Squadron (A.S.S.S.) are hot on the trail of our bawdy team of Gamma Iridians and their supernaturally-inclined friends with benefits. Will agents Cumming, Dicking, Spitz, and Swallows find anything they can report to their commanding officers, or will their cravings for the lusty lords and ladies of Climax Castle distract them from their mission?
Tobias Walton makes a reappearance, this time in the body of naive college student Muel Biermann. Tobias claims that he's changed his ways and wants to help others from now on, particularly when those "others" happen to be attractive young nerdy men. Has Tobias really changed, or does he have more wicked surprises under his hat?



When a lusty, cross-dressing Leprechaun named Kizz Myass makes the scene, you know full well that he's got some surprises under his hat, and probably in his magical pantaloons as well!
When the preparations for the upcoming Carnal Carnival celebration are nearly as scandalous as the party itself, you know you're in for a good time. Join the agents of A.S.S.S. on a wild ride, yours for 100% FREE for a limited time!

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~


Haibun: My Son is a Woodworker


My son is a woodworker. He does chip carving.
The tools he uses for this type of woodworking are a knife and a gouge rather than a chisel. However, one day he would like to try different types of woodworking, some of which involve the use a chisel.
People worry about him working with sharp tools. They say that he should beware when working with gouges and knives. It is true that he must be prudent when using imprudent (or perhaps impudent) tools. However:

The cuts that hurt worst
Come not from the sharpest knife

But from jagged edge

Word Count:
99

~Cie~

Note:
The prompts led me to create this non-fiction slice of life in Haibun form. If the result bends the rules of any of the prompts too far, feel free to delete my link.

Prompts Used:

Weekend Writing Warriors 17 March 2019 (ER, LGBT, PA, SF)


“They didn’t seem unhappy about the experience,” Cumming remarked.
“No, but they did seem euphoric, which is an indication…”
“There were no illicit drugs, sedatives, or even alcohol present in their blood, and that gel is something that can’t be identified. It isn’t toxic and it even smells pleasant, but it’s not of this Earth. Still, they did say some strange things, didn’t they?”
“Embarrassing things. Things like: “It was totally hot being probed by her tentacles, but I want to see Mistress Nyx in her human form,” and “Desire is a real sex goddess. I hope she’ll come to Earth for the Carnal Carnival.”
“Right. I guess I’ll be spending Fat Tuesday at a sex party,” Dicking sighed, rolling his eyes.

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

Notes:
Happy Carnal Carnival Day! I mean, St. Patrick's Day. I am well relieved to not have to work this St. Patrick's Day. When I am not collaborating on Kindle smut projects, I work as a delivery driver, and you will have to trust me when I say that making deliveries on St. Patrick's Day is chaos personified.
In this snippet, Agents Marc Cumming and Dale Dicking of the secret government agency A.S.S.S. (Alien and Supernatural Search Squadron) are discussing an incident in which their fellow agents Julie Spitz and Sarah Swallows turned up on Agent Cumming's doorstep covered in the same sparkling gelatinous jelly that often appears in the adult videos released by Climax Productions. 
The cynical, jaded Agent Dicking is not looking forward to spending a wild and boisterous night at a Climax Castle party. The ever-eager Agent Cumming is looking forward to seeing what happens.

Just a bit of fun.
Nothing to do with the snippet.


I would like to apologize to anyone who left a comment on my previous snippet because I did not return any visits this go-round. I left the link for the wrong blog (I duplicate the posts on this blog and the Horror Harridans blog.) I have had an atrocious week psychologically speaking. In spite of my messed-up head, publication of the first segment of Carnal Carnival is a go. At least I didn't manage to screw that up.


Fetch: Pepper's Conversation with a Dark Young

Shadow of a Tree
Photographer Unknown


In the Dreamlands, the refugees were free to do as they pleased, which was a wonderful escape from the tyranny and hopelessness which was overtaking both the Netherworld and the waking world. Nonetheless, the woebegone shadows of the oppressed realms remained heavy on the hearts of the refugees. Like a distant hum, despair seemed to fall with the rain as Pepper followed the drops with her eyes from the zenith of the Dreamland sky into the teacup sitting before her on the patio table at the Falona Inn bar.
Pepper made a hollow entreaty to herself to not let the light interrupted by the billowing dark clouds reinforce the belief that she was only hiding from the truth on the other side of nothing, but her instinct to doubt caused her to reinforce her status as "other" in her mind. 
Pepper couldn't help but think of the Cosmos as cruel. From the first day of her life, it seemed that there was a universal plan or vicious cosmic prank to ensure that she would forever be the girl with the cast iron smile. It mattered not at what pace she ran on fat legs the thighs of which could not help but rub together. It did not matter if she ran so fast that the sweat caused the fabric of her pants to stick to her fat thighs. It did not matter what tree-lined dream passage she dodged down or what wild caper she imagined for the characters in the many tales her mind concocted. She would always be yanked rudely back to a forlorn and hopeless reality by the chain which tethered her soul to eternal despair.
"The only book I've any business writing would be titled 'Dark Days: Biography of a Self-Professed Cynic'," the discouraged Pepper sighed as a single tear mingled with the rain on her face while she slogged towards Gerry's homestead in the Karthian Hills. 
Every day, Pepper wondered if it wouldn't be best for Gerry if she set him free. What good could she possibly be doing him? She remembered how wonderful and terrifying it felt to find herself suddenly in love with the ingenuous little Fetch who nervously confessed that he wished to be more than friends when she presented him with the offer to become one of her invisible roommates. 
That day seemed to have happened in another lifetime now. She had hurt the fragile Fetch, now a full-fledged angelic spirit, more than once and deeply with cruel words born from insecurity and past psychic wounds which had never fully healed. He remained supportive of her, said that he understood, but he was still fearful of fully connecting with her again, and she wondered if she would ever be able to close the gap between them and give him reason to trust her to love him as he deserved rather than accusing him of imagined infidelities.
The rain fell harder now and the path ahead was muddy. Pepper gave a shout as she slipped and fell face-down on the path, tumbling off into the shrubbery. She gave a discouraged moan and considered just lying there until the rain stopped or she woke up on her son's couch or the cold bedroom of her squalid mobile home. Suddenly, she felt as if a giant hand with very slender fingers had wrapped itself around her, and she was lifted into the air to find herself facing a Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath.
"I can take you to your home, Miss Pepper," the affable Dark Young said. "I know you think of it as his home, but it's your home too. He wishes you'd think of it so. Maybe when we get to your home, we can help each other to write our stories. I have read every one of your Bloody Velvet books, you know. It inspired me to write my own series about a lonely Dark Young who meets a Vampire Tree. I've found a few fans, both Dark Young and animated trees, who say my stories really get the sap flowing! Unfortunately, I cannot seem to get beyond the title on my latest one."
"What's the title?" Pepper inquired, heartened by the tenderness shown by the gigantic being who now carried her towards the Karthian Hills homestead.
"Well, the working title is Mr. and Mrs. Deadtree. It's a ghost story. Perhaps you can help me get it off the ground."
"I'd be happy to," Pepper replied, settling into the crook formed by two of the Dark Young's sky-reaching tentacles. She was pleased that this Dark Young smelled like moist loam rather than an open grave and appreciative of its green and guileless manner. Despite its gargantuan size, it was like a babe in the woods, still filled with hope and a belief that right action would be rewarded in kind. She intended to do her best to ensure that it remained that way for as long as possible.
"Does your kind drink tea?" Pepper inquired. "If you do, we can make some in one of the rain barrels for you."
"I take my nutrients from decaying leaves and the flowing streams and the Earth itself, but I would be happy to enjoy a rain barrel of tea," the Dark Young replied. "You will stay warm and dry in your room with the window open so I can speak with you from outside, and I will be happy for this torrent and the welcome sustenance it brings."

Fae Little
Gem Moondreamer
The Real Cie

Prompts Used:

Titles/Sentence Fragments
A Distant Hum
Light Interrupted
Hollow Entreaty
Dark Days: Biography of a Self-Professed Cynic
Suddenly in Love
The Otherside of Nothing
Invisible Roommates
The Girl with the Cast Iron Smile
Mr. and Mrs. Deadtree
The First Day

Wordle Words
bar
caper
chain
instinct
legs
pace
passage
plan
prank
other
rub
stick

Reference:
https://lovecraft.fandom.com/wiki/Dark_Young_of_Shub-Niggurath

Weekend Writing Warriors 10 March 2019 (ER, LGBT, PA, SF)


“Dale, what have I told you?” Cumming demanded. “Two weeks ago, when Agents Swallows and Spitz were deposited on my doorstep covered in that glittery space jelly and looking like a couple of unmade beds, I saw a light descending from the sky followed by a glittering rain of sparkles. I calculated the trajectory of the light. It landed at Climax Castle.”

“Marc, I just can’t buy the idea that the porn purveyors at Climax Castle are extraterrestrials,” Dicking sighed, reaching into his desk drawer for a bottle of ibuprofen. “For the last time, they aren’t aliens, they’re adult film actors. We don’t have any reason to investigate them. They don’t have any performers of questionable age. Everything they do is legal.”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

Notes:
This snippet is from Naughty Netherworld Press' upcoming release, Carnal Invasion X: Carnal Carnival. The release date was moved from March 6 to March 17, because, to be honest, we got so involved with writing the espionage part that we haven't even started writing the carnival part yet!
So, we'll be Watchin' the Detectives for a little while longer as Agents Cumming and Dicking discuss the possible Dirty Deeds being done at Climax Castle.
In the meantime, you can check out the previous installments in the Carnal Invasion series. Take note that these stories contain explicit erotica. I keep the blog posts PG-13, but the books are a definite XXX.


Living Disabled: Fibromyalgia and Spiders on Drugs

Image by Baerenfein on Pixabay

I've had it suggested to me more than once that I should "just" take my clerical skills and get a nice, normal, forty-hour-a-week, nine-to-five job, and that the only reason I'm "just sitting home pretending to be a writer" is that I'm "just lazy."
Well...
I've talked about my mental health issues and many of my physical health issues. Let me talk about a certain component of my physical issues. That component is fibromyalgia.
Here is the Wikipedia entry describing fibromyalgia.
Here is my reply to that post.
I don't really mind when someone jokingly calls me crazy for not wearing more than a light jacket in cold weather. I do mind when people imply that I should "just get over" the issues I live with. Say, that's a great idea! Wish I'd thought of it!
I didn't know that fibromyalgia can cause temperature dysregulation. I've said before that I don't know if I have "true" fibromyalgia or if I simply have similar symptoms because of my endocrine problems. I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia twice, but there are a few differences between what I experience and what a lot of fibromyalgia sufferers seem to experience. For one thing, I have never experienced extreme pain. I experience chronic low-grade widespread pain and have since I hit puberty. Also, when I do something which causes muscle fatigue, what takes a normal person a day or two to get over takes me about a week to recover from, and I feel like I've been beaten with a baseball bat the entire time.
As far as the temperature dysregulation, I overheat easily. This is why I don't wear long-sleeved shirts or turtlenecks or more than a light jacket even when it's extremely cold.
I've also always been scolded for being "spacey" and seeming disinterested when I have to sit in one place for long periods of time without doing anything, such as in class or a meeting. I had problems with falling asleep in such settings and was admonished that I needed to "just get more sleep" and that I would be fired/kicked out of school if such things happened again. Nobody bothered to try and find out if I had any sort of medical problem which might be causing my fatigue and tendency to fall asleep.
I also have trouble sleeping at night, which cuts out the possibility of doing most jobs traditionally done during daytime hours. I was always admonished to "just switch your sleep schedule around," but have never been able to do it. I literally become depressed to the point of non-functional working your traditional 40 hours a week day job. I can't work more than four days a week or I'm worthless (as far as society is concerned) within a couple of weeks. When I become depressed to that degree, it's hard to bounce back.
So, here I sit deluding myself that I have writing talent. Except I really am not telling myself that I am particularly talented. I know that I have certain abilities when it comes to working with words. I always tested higher than my grade level when it came to skills such as writing and reading comprehension. I was in the top tier with my SAT scores in English back in 1983. In other words, I may not be a genius, but I do have abilities in this area.


If my brain were a spider, it would be a spider on LSD or peyote. Just talking to me, I pass for normal. However, my thoughts do not process normally. Every story I write or collaborate on inevitably develops myriads of subplots, some of which end up branching off in entirely new directions.
I've noticed that most WAH bloggers are nice, normal people. I'm not normal. I'm a big, scary, tattooed lady with a spider-on-drugs brain and a shedful of psych issues. So, right away I'm on the outside looking in. 
I've tried all my life to do things the way the nice, normal, perfect and pretty people do them, and it's never worked. The only thing that I can do is to be true to myself and to tell my tale. Maybe I'll inspire a few people to open their minds and view society's rejects through more compassionate eyes. That would be a worthwhile accomplishment. I only wish it paid a little better.
The late David Bowie once inquired: "so where were the spiders?"
They're right here in my brain, dear David. Weaving webs.

~Cie~






Insecure Writers Support Group: But What If I Hate Socializing?


I'm not "in with the in crowd." I never was, and I never will be. The older I get, the happier I am with that. I've come to see the "in crowd" as fake, dependent on keeping up appearances, superficial in the extreme. I was the opposite of popular when I was in school, which in some ways suited me just fine, but in other ways was very painful and left scars on my psyche which will be with me until I die.
Fine and good. I'm not in school anymore. I don't go out socializing and I don't particularly want to. I don't entertain and I definitely don't want to. I'd rather wash my hair with sand than go clubbing, and the idea of online dating, speed dating, or anything with the word "date" in it except for "how about trying this recipe for date bars" sounds about as enjoyable as eating soap. In other words, I've become okay with being asocial. It's even become a bit trendy to be an "introvert," which kind of makes me gag. The last thing I want to be is "trendy."
A funny thing I've noticed is that there are a lot of people who confuse "introvert" with "jerk." I was in a Facebook group for introverts for a time and I left that in the dust fairly quickly. The people there mostly seemed to want to use their "introvert" status as an excuse to act like assholes.
I may be critical and snarky when it comes to politicians and celebrities or social trends, but I am the sort who believes in punching up rather than down, and I believe in calling out attitudes, not belittling physical appearance. If Lord Dampnut and Justin Trudeau switched bodies, Lord Dampnut would still be a hateful, pea-brained, lowlife criminal. Suddenly having a conventionally attractive appearance would not make him a better person.
So, since I am far more of a badger than a social butterfly, one would think that I would be well suited to a profession such as writing. Is this the case?
The answer is both yes and no.
If asked "would you rather go to the Party of the Year (TM) and Mix and Mingle with all the Pretty People, or would you rather stay home and cocoon yourself with imaginary characters of your own design while probably drinking too much iced coffee and consuming food of questionable nutritional value but which tastes good," the latter would rise to the top every time. The only reason I enjoyed going to parties in my youth was that I knew I would end up plastered. I can't drink these days and I can't abide hangovers, so at this point asking me to go to a party is pretty much like asking me if I want to spend the night cleaning toilets. I really, really, really don't want to do either.
However, if you want to be a Successful Writer or a Successful Anything, pretty much, you are supposed to socialize, which makes things difficult for those of us who are shy, introverted, and whose tippling days have long since been buried by time and dust. There are times when I have trouble making myself reply to comments because of my social anxiety. With parties, at best I spend the entire time feeling completely out of place and hoping I can find a large plant to hide behind. A Social Butterfly I am not.
Similarly, the idea of joining a writer's group is about as appealing to me as drinking a quart of milk. Hint: I'm lactose intolerant.
So, am I now going to spring a Happy Ending on you where I forced myself to go to lots of parties and am now the Toast of the Town, my first best-seller is going to win some sort of prize, I am now super duper uber conventionally thin and attractive and look like a supermodel, and I am about to marry the Handsome Prince (TM) and live Happily Ever After?
Newp.
I am going to tell you that I have no idea in hell what to do about hating to socialize while enjoying participation in a field that is very attractive to introverts but yet still being expected to be sociable so people will like me and therefore take an interest in my work. However, if you are like me in this way, you now have the knowledge that you are not alone.
Yeah...I didn't promise that it was a particularly inspiring answer. Sorry about that.

~Cie~


I'll admit that this is an "in" crowd that I'd like to have had the opportunity to sit in with!
 

Real Cie Reviews: The Wayne Dyer Material

Dr. Wayne Dyer
10 May 1940 - 29 August 2015

My dear writing sister Blooming Psycho was up early this morning, and she sent me links to videos of lectures by the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, a psychologist and motivational speaker. Dr. Dyer's works encouraged positive focus and meditation to clear the mind of negative fixations.
Although Dr. Dyer's work addresses Buddhist concepts, it is not necessary to be a Buddhist to benefit from his teachings. His later work had a more spiritual focus than his earlier books. Even if one rejects the spiritual aspects of his books, one can still benefit from the ideas of positive focus.
I'm glad that Bloomy reminded me of Dr. Dyer's work. I invite you to listen to the videos she shared with me and decide for yourself if his approach resonates with you.

Best Wishes,
Cie

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