Making a Quick Change


This is an administrative type of message because I’m going to make a change to the site operations and I thought it would be rude to do without explanation.

I talked to WordPress support about the fact that I keep getting likes from my posts without anyone actually viewing them.  He mentioned that it is because people who follow the site get content mailed to them, or could.

I’ll be blunt, I like pageviews.  But more than that, I rely on traffic stats to tell me if I’m reaching anyone or if what I’m doing is full-out pointless.  So I’m changing the follow emails to only put out summaries rather than the whole post.  This will make anyone following actually click the link and get recorded as a view.

This requires more work from the people who have signed up to follow and I apologize. Having never worked with this system and not using the follow mechanism myself, I didn’t realize what was going on.  From my point of view, pageviews went down as follows and likes went up, which made exactly zero sense.

Please comment here or email me if this is a problem for your access to the story.  I’ve worked with enough people using sight readers (audio readers for blind folks) to know that moving the cheese like this could be an issue and I’d like to be as accommodating as possible.

So that’s it.  Stay Weird!


Assassins, Assholes, and Alexandria

An angry nobody shot at politicians practicing baseball yesterday.  This man doubtlessly thought of himself as many things.  A patriot maybe?  A freedom fighter? Vengeful spirit?  An Assassin?  Someone dedicated and willing to go to the lengths no one else will go because he’s just that macho, like the Punisher or Rambo? We won’t know for sure because he was shot to death for being what he was in reality – an Asshole – an angry nobody – a weak man who picked up a gun – a footnote.

There are people who are barking “EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES” and “BUT he argued for…” and “But the policies…” and “The Tree of liberty should be watered!” and all that.  Those people should be ashamed of themselves.  Condoning, inciting, excusing, or carrying out political violence is an asshole and is profoundly unamerican.  The crowd that proudly displayed “we came unarmed this time” were assholes.  Anyone talking about “second amendment solutions” is an asshole.

There are no exceptions.  Political violence is inexcusable.  It’s the fallback of someone who is so weak of mind that they are unable to argue and work to further their cause.  OR it is the work of a demented and violent mind that has been armed and pointed in a direction by people who should know better and are, as has been alluded to earlier, assholes. is not a blog in which I nakedly blow out my own personal politics because it’s supposed to be a showcase for my own hackneyed fiction.  I sincerely hope that Steve Scalise will survive this, though I hold no hope that he will be “OK”.  I’m a Democrat and though I have political sympathies with people all over the political spectrum – yes, even Republicans – Steve Scalise viewpoints and my own have very little common ground.  BUT the man is a public servant, a patriot and was elected by my fellow citizens in Louisiana to represent them.  I disagree with the man with a burning passion but what happened to him is deplorable.  It goes beyond politics.  The man was shot in the pelvis with an M4.  This is conjecture, but that can’t be good for your dick.  Or, your ability to walk, but … priorities.

I should not make light.  This is not a good time for this country.  We need engaged citizens, not assholes.  And I call them assholes, not murderers or thugs or anything else because these weak, traitorous cowards do not deserve so aggrandizing as a label that makes them sound tough.  There is nothing tough about harming a fellow citizen when their defenses are down and they are speaking their mind.  A slap, a punch or a gunshot.  All of these makes for an asshole.  So again, we need engaged citizens to patriotically denounce and continue to denounce this dehumanization and violent rhetoric in our public discourse.  It is unamerican and it diminishes the light of hope that this country provides the world.

Use your words.

Don’t be an asshole.


Patrick Lewis

AKA: Screaming Candle

Chased by Robots and With a Head Full of Bees

I do not consider myself an “art” person, but like a lot of artistic types I have enough internal demons to let them have their own intramural basketball league.

Clearly the starting line up of the dream team is doubt, procrastination, imposter syndrome, stress and the king daddy of them all – migraine headaches.  While the numbers coming from the site are NOT helping with everything else, being in the middle of a series of migraines just makes everything difficult.  Unlike a lot of people’s migraines, mine don’t initially hurt.  However, I can’t see straight, or speak, or think clearly or feel my fingers.  And the funny part is that it’s not like these things are gone – I don’t go blind or mute – but they act unreliably.  The visual thing in particular is interesting.  I get a crescent shaped hole starting in the right side of my field of vision.  The edge of the hole can be seen like little fireworks but inside of the hole, my brain fills in what it THINKS should be there.  This is SUPER cool when I’m driving or even walking around especially when the spot grows big enough to take over the center part of my field of view, like it has lately .  Imagine walking down a street with a window of a rosy, no cars, no other people, no bikes day covering half your face.  The cars, even a parked car, would disappear if it fell into the hole.

Needless to say, I’m not doing a ton of writing like this.  Or reading.  Things are confusing during one of these things.  The real fun begins if I have to talk because glossolalia is frustrating.   Your mouth just utterly betrays you and often clearly says words you didn’t intend to say.  Total nonsense like “Car park banana spezum norm aptimus!”  There are real words mixed in, but it’s a jumble.  And this is where I come from when I say I have a head full of bees.

But the bit about being chased by robots, that’s there too.  I can see the page views from the site broken down by approximate country of origin.  These are CRAZY.  I’m apparently HOT in Poland.  And Nepal.  See the previous post about bullshit traffic.  As someone who just recently graduated with a masters degree in cybersecurity, I’m truly interested in what these people are doing.  It’s just nuts.

So, anyway, I do not believe that anyone will read this.  Truly.  In a way, I’m ranting at the same anonymous robot that is the internet that I’m scolding for reading me.  How’s that for crazy?  Not powerful enough for the basketball team, but it’s up there.

And on the subject of crazy, I’m in no big hurry to post more bits of The Strange.  NO ONE IS READING SO WHY BOTHER?  I’m still writing and even still writing on The Strange, but I’ve more an eye towards what I’m going to be posting up next.  Clearly I lost too many people in act 1 and now that things are hitting the fan in act 2, no one cares.  That, I guess, is a lesson.  One can only get away with that kind of thing in epic fantasy.

Stay weird



Screams from the Candle – Bullshit Traffic

So, I’m new to having and administering a blog, for this is what this site is on the inside, and I’m now amused and disgusted by bullshit traffic.  These are views and visitors and now even comments that are clearly not generated by humans and definitely not by readers.  The most interesting one came from a post that no one ever read, and yet it had a comment on Canadian politics.

The big question in my mind is why?  Why have some random webcrawler randomly flop around on the web and post random and inoffensive bullshit?  Why did I get four visits from Nepal?  Why are Poland and the Philippines dueling it out for fifth place on my rankings of country of origin traffic?  Możesz rozwinąć temat?

And really, with numbers as small as they are for The Strange and the other works here on the site, the bullshit is really obvious.  So from here on in, if you’d like to be counted as a person on this site, comment or like something.  Or drop me a note.

And if any of the bullshiters would like to tell me what the fuck is going through your head, that would be cool too.

Stay weird


Screams from the Candle – WOM

Hi all.  I’m not sure how many people actually read these, but I wanted to throw out a request to anyone who is interested in what you read here at Screaming Candle to help me out.  I’m offering this stuff up for free, but please, if you like it – share it.  Likes on the posts, follows for the site if you’re a wordpress person, comments, all those things help raise the site’s profile.  That helps others who might like the story, find the story.

I’m not advertising the site so the two ways I’m able to reach people who may be into The Strange or the stuff I’m putting out as Liquid Wax is through automated ranking things and Word Of Mouth.  This would help out the site, it would help me justify to every other priority in my life that getting the story up is important to people, and it also shows that you have a refined taste for things that are high concept and low humor.

Going back just a bit to Liquid Wax, I’m also trying to determine my next project.  The Strange is now weekly so that I have enough time to write new.  Ms. Candle wants more stories like Idle Hands – Episode 2 – Temporary Assignment, others may find that slightly too evil.  And you just have to love my girl – she wants me to be evil.  When I get home from taking care of my family (see the previous Screams from the Candle – Sucks to be Old for details – Papa Candle is doing much better, by the way) I’ll be putting up another “Pilot” story called Crabtree, a slightly less evil play on ghost hunting.  I like both of these stories, but I’d like to hear from people who actually read them (and aren’t related to me) to see which one has better legs.

And for those interested in sponsoring me on patreon, it is my intent to take 100% of that and turn it into art for this site.  I wish there was a better way to do that and maybe someone can give me a hand.  See above about how I’m kinda crap with social media and stuff.

So that’s it.  This concludes my … commercial break, I suppose.  The next episode of The Strange won’t be up on time today barring miracles.

Stay weird.


Screams from the Candle – Sucks to be Old


Quick update since I’m not able to update you with any fiction.  I’m down here in Texas with the family because my dad had a … surgical misadventure.  That sounds much better than what actually happened – kinda like some vacation or something.  Anyway, after more than a few scary moments – and most of them handled entirely by my brother and Mom while I was still in the Screaming Candle home base of Washington DC, he’s got as good a chance of surviving as anyone else on the planet.

Now, he’s totally screwed up and thank all the powers of creation that pain medications and antibiotics are a thing, but it’s no longer a question of “is he going to make it.” which really helps the mood at the bedside.

All this to say that updates are going to be fewer.  That’s especially a bummer since some new people have stumbled over from Revfits’s review, which is still making me blush. I’ve got things that are almost ready to rock and am writing new on other stories.  I really just don’t have the time or the right connection to post them and honestly, aside from this little respite, my mind is otherwise engaged.  It’s great that people are reading, but family comes first.

So keep checking back.  The site’s not dead. And above all else – Stay weird.


Screams from the Candle – Going Quiet

Well, the last Screams from the Candle laid out the shitstorm that is my current predicament.  While things are getting resolved, the big one, my dad having a very hard time health-wise, is not.  Papa Candle has been up and down and up and down healthwise in some very serious circumstances, especially for an old guy.

For the time being, I’m going to try to get on with it but I am NOT going to tie myself to the promise of a particular schedule.  As I only have a handful of readers, that’s likely not going to break many hearts.  The Strange will keep poking along and when I have time enough to get a groove going, I’ll get back to a reasonable schedule.  There is a huge amount of story still left to go and we haven’t even fully wrapped on Act 1.

Writing is a therapy for me, but at the same time, I’ll be traveling, possibly for weeks, and visiting with my family who needs my support.  We’ve unfortunately already been here before with my sister, but having Papa down is really a weird feeling.  He’s always been the guy at the middle of things.

Please do not send thoughts and prayers.  People always do that and it’s nonsense. Instead, if you really want to do something for a stranger, hug your kid, or your dad, or your loved one, or that weird guy at the corner store that smells like roast beef.  Be nice to the barista.  In short, instead of doing something useless that only makes you feel better, be nice to people, or at the very least, don’t be a dick.  Papa Candle has us in his corner and that’s enough.  Improve your own world and do it on our behalf if you really need an excuse.

So with that quick status, I’m going to bump out a few things onto the Liquid Wax portion of the site and maybe have the second and final part of the current Strange Story (that has already gone on too long) before cutting out to Candle Base South to be with the fam.

The short story is that the site is not dead, only recuperating.  Now go be nice to people and tell the roast beef guy to shower more often.

Stay weird