Recharging, Revitalizing and Rewriting

Ok, so this summer sucked.  The highlight of the summer has been continuing to publish stories, but to be frank, everything else has been really hard.  Work, family, and working through the morass of my own mind has been a struggle.

And yes, the writing has suffered.  I’ve blown through my backlog and have also bumped up against a part in The Strange that I really want to rewrite.  Not that I’m getting huge traction on the story, but it’s not like I want to put out crap.

All that said, I’m not in a huge hurry.  One of the major personal health issues I need to address before it addresses me is stress.  And yeah, I know that sounds completely “pussy” but I’m trying to work out hypertension issues while having two ailing family members in my dad and my father in law, plus my wife’s issues and a disabled but increasingly capable son.  In short, I’m prioritizing this and working to find the time to do it right.

You know, I understand that this is another one of those “I’m late” messages.  I fear I’m judging myself against the standard of other people who are serializing fiction.  I don’t know if those folks are better writers, not nearly so lazy, putting out unedited copy, young and with too much time on their hands, or what.  All I know is that this guy right here is working at a very wobbly pace now because a couple of meteors have been thrown at my home planet.  I sincerely hope that anyone who is reading my work understands that.  I’m not being lazy or a diva or a perfectionist.  Publishing like this was meant to set a fire under my ass and it has done that.  I’ll get it done but I’m not giving myself a complex for not keeping to schedule.

That’s about it.  The next two episodes will be jar episodes and then things get into a higher gear.  Hopefully the people who have started will be patient while I get my act together and future readers won’t care.  That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

Stay tuned and stay weird.

-SC

Freakin’!

Hi.

Thought I’d drop a line to let everyone know that I’m not dead and I haven’t given up on The Strange.  This quiet period is a reflection of me FREAKING OUT in my other-than-writing life.  While my dad is doing surprisingly well, considering how sick he was just two months ago, my father in law is not so great.  I’ve had a few stretches of being a single parent while Mrs. Candle went to help out and I will freely admit that I am terrible at it.  My son, the Little Candle, likes it because it’s pizza and iPad time, but… well, I’m not winning dad of the year here and it stresses me out like crazy.  My wife is a treasure.

Anyway, blah blah blah life blah blah day job blah.  As much as I would like to keep this on a schedule, I can’t let that be a stressor.  I’ve too many of them already that take precedence, with people counting on me.  The next episode will be up as soon as I can get my head on straight and pound the suck out of it.  I’m also cooking up some new things, which will sit and stew for a while till they are ripe.

In short, I’m still here and I’ll be getting back to you once I stop TRIPPIN’ BALLS!

Making a Quick Change

Hi.

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!

-SC

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

SC

 

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.

-SC

Screams from the Candle – Sucks to be Old

Hi.

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.

-SC

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

-SC