The Short Story Project

For several years now, I’ve been working on a short story project.  Aside from my flash fiction horror shorts, I’ve been writing short stories with the serial killers mentioned in the Dreams & Reality books along with stories that star either Alex Zeitzev or Kenzie Reynolds.

These are the serial killers that never get their own book, including Eric Clachan and the day he climbed to the top of the building and began shooting people.  Since, Alex and Kenzie are both private detectives who have lives just as screwy as Nadine’s, it only seemed fitting that they should get some back stories, side stories, and adventures of their own.

I have begun compiling all of these.  I have a cover in the works.  I have a title.  I’m going to be releasing them.

The reason for the release is that Fortified Dreams will take place in the Fortress.  Aislinn Cain is going to be dealing with a lot of serial killers.  Serial killers who have their own stories.  Serial killers never mentioned, but have history with Cain and the SCTU.

Originally, I thought I’d just release this hodge-podge of serial killer stories as a collection by themselves.  But is that fair to my other writings?  I might not always be pounding out a novel or novella, but very few days go by when I actually do not write.  From flash fiction pieces to stories that strike my fancy with characters I’ve already created happen all the time.

Plus, if I just release the serial killer stories, it will short, really short and I would probably never publish the others.  I want to make sure all my readers are getting the biggest bang for their buck.  Besides, they have an element of horror in them, even Alex and Kenzie’s stories (it’s amazing what those two discover at times, especially since they share the fictitious world that Aislinn Cain inhabits).

So, I’m going to put them together as a single collection of tales.  It should be interesting. As soon as I have the cover, I’ll show it to you.  Not sure when I will have it ready for release, but it should be soon.  I want to get it published before Fortified Dreams so that you understand who Deacon Priest and Bella and a host of others are…

Some Weird, Unrelated Crap

Just a random post.

  • I once had a friend whose hair molded.  She always went to bed with it wet, wrapped in a bun, snugged together with two ponytail holders.  It discolored and started breaking, her mom took her to the doctor thinking there was something seriously wrong with the girl… and there was.  She had very thick hair and being in a bun, it never dried.  The discoloration was mold and it was damaging her hair.  A few special hair treatments later, the mold was gone, and her hair was growing again.
  • No one has ever mentioned that menopause can be itchy.  Someone needs to put that shit in a pamphlet.  That is important, need to know, information that should be available to the public.
  • If a hairstyle says “quick and easy,” it should not take 15 minutes (or more) and require multiple bobby pins, ponytail holders, and the ability to French braid one’s own hair.
  • I had to talk to my health insurance provider the other day about my well woman’s exam and depo-provera.  The guy on the other end of the phone was very uncomfortable with my explanations that involved the words “ovaries,” “ovulation,” and “birth control pills no longer work.”  Perhaps we should have male and female options similar to “Press 1 for English” or “Press 2 for Spanish”.  It could be “Press 1 to speak to a woman” and “Press 2 to speak to a man.”  Or it could say “Press 1 if this call does not involve reproductive organs,” “Press 2 if it involves Female Bits,” “Press 3 if it involves Male Bits, including the prostate.”
  • Why do women spend time growing their head hair and removing all the other hair from their bodies?  Why do men do the opposite?
  • Why hasn’t anyone written a book on how to deal with stupid people?  (And I’m not talking about people with low IQs, I know some very smart people that are terribly stupid… one instantly springs to mind, but if I mention him by name or relation to me, my family will probably hunt me down and beat me with a rubber hose)
  • Hollywood should stop changing actors for superheros.  There have been a lot of Batmans in my lifetime.
  • Why is it that when you’re cranky, everyone comments on it.  But if someone else is cranky and you make a comment, you’re an asshole?
  • What exactly is the definition of “asshat”?  I like the word and use it, but I’m actually not sure what it means.
  • Finally, speaking of swear words, why are some deemed worse than others and why isn’t there a universal standard for it?  (Some believe “Fuck” is the ultimate swear word, others “motherfucker,” still others “cunt,” and yet others “God damn it”)

Paperback Sale!

I have decided to liquidate my current inventory of paperback books.  My Etsy store is having a sale during the month of February, 30% off all purchases!

All the books are signed by me.

Check them out: Hadena’s Books  Coupon Code: LiquidationSale

This sale does include the discontinued covers of the Strachan series and the Dysfunctional Chronicles.  The Dysfunctional Affair is the full length novel and not the revised novella edition (they are the only full length novel versions left!).

I only have about 5 of each of these books left, once they are gone, they are gone for good.  Less than 100 of each of these were ever sold in paperback, making them a very limited edition.

I Didn’t Need A Study To Tell Me That

Recently, I read a study about chronic pain sufferers, including migraine sufferers, overusing over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen.  I didn’t need a three year long study to tell me that.

Society thinks most chronic pain sufferers are drug seekers.  So, most of us do not get prescribed medications that might actually relieve our pain.  I know at least one clinic in my hometown has a notation in my chart that I’m a drug seeking patient.

The problem with that is, I’m not.  I actually do not like the effects of narcotics.  It reminds me of having vertigo.  I take meds to stop vertigo, why would I willingly abuse medications that cause similar effects?

Unfortunately, when I have a migraine, I’d shoot heroin if someone told me it would help (and it was safe).  Triptans work best for me, but I have trouble taking triptans anymore.  I’ve over used them through the years because of chronic migraines (which is a form of chronic pain) and have developed some heart problems as a result.  Preventive treatment has yet to work for my migraines, but I’m still searching for the right one.

I have trouble taking ibuprofen and naproxen.  I’m starting to have trouble with aspirin too.  It all makes my stomach hurt.  I can still take acetaminophen, but I take a lot of it and eventually, it’s going to become a problem as well.  What will I do when I reach that point?  I don’t really know.  I try to think that far ahead, but then my head starts to pound and I start popping pills and all those thoughts about my future become a blur.

However, I know I’m guilty of overusing over-the-counter drugs simply because I don’t always have enough migraine meds to last a month.  Or sometimes, I just get tired of popping the tablets for migraines because I feel like they aren’t going to work any better than an Excedrin, so why waste the prescription.  Worse, my migraine meds right now are Fioricet (non-codeine, non-caffeine – my blood pressure actually lowers with certain types of migraines which is why the vaso-constrictors worked so well) which means I’m taking a barbiturate and acetaminophen.  I do try not to exceed the daily dosage restrictions, but there are times I just lose count of how many I’ve taken or how long I’ve been taking them or how long it has been since my last dose.

When I have a migraine, time is not my friend.  Clocks might as well be in Aramaic.  I can’t add or subtract time even with a digital clock (this is how I overdosed on codeine as a teenager when my former doctor was convinced that migraines were just a result of puberty and would only prescribe Tylenol 3 for them).  So, I know that once in a while, I have to fail miserably at following the dosing instructions.

It is terribly unlikely I’m alone in that overuse of OTC meds and I didn’t need a study to point it out to me.  Maybe the problem isn’t really us though, maybe it’s the thinking of the medical community.  Once or twice a month, I have a migraine that just will not go away.  There is nothing I can do for it to make it better (for the record; things like exercise, pushing through it, and physical exertion make migraines worse… Not sure you have a migraine?  Do some jumping jacks.  If it didn’t get worse, it’s a headache, not a migraine).  But now one of the urgent care centers considers me a drug seeker, so they will not do anything but give me anti-nausea medicine and tell me to take a nap.  I get insomnia with migraines.  Forget the narcotics, give me a sedative and make me sleep for the next 18 hours or so. That would probably help.  The last time I went, they gave me Phenergan and 800mg ibuprofen tablets after I told them that ibuprofen makes my stomach hurt so badly, I cry and curl up in the fetal position.  Yeah, that’s exactly what I want with a migraine.  I filled the Phenergan, I didn’t bother with the ibuprofen.

I guess I really need to work on becoming a Jedi so I can control my brain with my brain (meditation also does not help a migraine and can make it much worse, because the focus becomes consumed by the head throbbing, which creates anxiety, which increases the heart rate, which worsens the migraine, which causes a migraine sufferer to focus even more on the pain, etc, etc, etc)

Migraines – An Invisible Illness

Since, I’m still recovering from my last migraine, it is still on my brain; both literally and figuratively.  The necessary aggressive treatment has caused a minor rebound migraine.  However, I managed to get Mutilated Dreams mostly sorted out, meaning I got all the stuff from the betas that had contacted me into the story, or not, depending on the case.

I’m kind of amazed by my productivity and I realize, it is part of the problem.  I can do things with a migraine.  Years ago I became tolerant to the pain.  I no longer require dark rooms without noise to keep myself from vomiting until I pass out.

Most migraines are defined as intense, throbbing pain, located in a portion of your brain, that disrupts your daily life for four or more hours.  Technically, they no longer disrupt my daily life, not in the way most people think they do.  Primarily because I am no longer throwing up until I pass out.

Here’s what it does do to disrupt my life:

  • My brain slows down.  I can actually feel myself thinking slower.  I can feel myself reacting slower.  I don’t dare drive a car in this condition.  Driving with this foggy sense of self could be deadly.
  • My vision is impacted.  I see spots; both bursts of light or dark patches.  I get tunnel vision, where the sides of my vision disappear in a blackened haze.  My newest migraine experience has made it so that I was almost completely blind in my right eye while it was happening!  And it lasted for a week.
  • I hear things.  Some of my migraines actually come with auditory hallucinations.  I hear fake conversations between people that probably don’t exist.  What’s really trippy is when this happens and I’m home alone.  One day, I came into the living room convinced my mother was talking to my grandmother.  A feat, since my grandmother died in the 1990s.
  • I do have nausea, I just don’t vomit anymore.  So, I don’t eat much when I have a migraine.  I also tend to crave things that I know are migraine triggers.
  • My personality changes.  I’m basically Dr. Jekyll and migraines turn me into Mr. Hyde.  Migraine Me swears more, is irritated easier, gets angry over little things to the point of rage, and stews over shit that normally wouldn’t bother me until I want to go boil that person’s head in oil… Like changing the channel.

I’ve had other migraine sufferers tell me that my migraines must not be that bad, since I don’t vomit and pass out.  I want to strangle them.  One spot of head feels like it is on fire.  It is throbbing in time to my heart beat.  I want to strangle someone anyway while eating a bacon sandwich and sucking down a bottle of red wine.  I’m hearing people that don’t exist and my language skills have gone to 10-year-old pirate.  God forbid I have to do anything that requires concentration or coordination.  But yes, I must not have them that bad.

I’ve also heard this: So-and-So has them and she can’t get out of bed with hers.  Are you sure you don’t just have a headache?  I would love to have a headache.  Seriously, that would be an improvement.  I made it out of bed, happy happy joy joy.  We should go celebrate, I’ll bring the knives.

Migraines aren’t imaginary.  They certainly aren’t headaches.  And everyone experiences them differently.  I can do things other migraine sufferers can’t, but I’ve met people with more tolerance than me and all I could think was “wow!”  I worked with a woman who had chronic migraines.  When I met her, she’d been in a pain cycle for just over 5 years (and we worked together for a further 3 years in which it was never broken).  Every day at lunch, she closed her office door, put on a mask and napped.  She didn’t eat lunch, it would make her sick.  Yet, she still made it to work every day.  She still managed to do her work every day.  She also ate migraine meds like candy and suffered liver and heart damage, but she did it.  I don’t know that I could have.  Aside from my Jekyll/Hyde personality, I have problems focusing on words, letters, numbers, sentences, language doesn’t always make sense to me and I definitely cannot pay attention to small details.

Just something to think about when someone says they have a migraine.

Flawless Dreams

Here is the cover for Flawless Dreams!  More great work from Covered Creatively.

Flawless Dreams by Hadena James

Um, Try That When You Aren’t Stoned

So, my migraine from last week required an extra special dose of insane treatment.  I was given a whole lot of drugs and sent home.  Some were injected into my hip, others were given to me in prescription bottles.

And I started taking them.  I’m not even sure I know what all of them are at this point.  Mobic, Percocet (that one I know!), Tramadol (know that one too!), and something with a weird long name that I can’t read in the dark.

Now, I’ve taken Percocet and Tramadol in the past without any problems.  However, I started taking this batch and my brain fizzled out.  Whatever was supposed to come out of my mouth was a jumbled mess and I wasn’t doing much better with my fingers.  Actually, my texting skills went away completely, as if I had texting aphasia.

Of course this did not stop me from texting or from talking.  Quite the opposite.  I talk a lot more and feel the need to text more when I’m on narcotics.  I don’t know why, but I do.  Normally, there’s some disconnect between my brain and the implements of communication, but not enough for it to be an issue.

This time though… Wow, even I was reading my text messages and wondering if I knew what I was talking about.  Some of it was in German.  Some of it in English.  Some of it might have been in an imaginary language.  So, I got to looking Friday evening as I popped down another Percocet and there was the problem.

I’m a lightweight when it comes to narcotics.  I’ve never had more than 5mg Percocet tablets prescribed before and here I was popping 10mg tablets.  Holy crap!  Mixed with the blah-blah-blah-blah (it might have hydrochlorate at the end of it) and the Tramadol, not only did I not have a filter between my mouth and brain (or brain and fingers), but I didn’t have the mental competency to form coherent thoughts.

Saturday, I started cutting those puppies in half.  I’m still working on getting rid of the migraine, but it’s much better.  My problem seems to be that they go on for so long that it takes a few days worth of meds to get rid of them and then I have to hope I don’t get slammed by a rebound migraine.

Somehow, I was still able to write Friday.  I even went back through it to make sure I hadn’t scribbled gibberish and it was actual, logical, coherent thoughts.

Eight Serial Killers

Yesterday afternoon, while I waited for time to tick by and allow me to take another pill for my migraine, I thought about what would follow Fortified Dreams.  After all, I do need six Dreams books for 2017.

I came up with eight serial killers that will star in their own books and eight titles:

  • Ritual Dreams (technically, I already had this one, so it doesn’t count)
  • Purified Dreams
  • Molten Dreams
  • Innocent Dreams
  • Caustic Dreams
  • Flawless Dreams
  • Fallen Dreams
  • Soiled Dreams
  • Golden Dreams

I have no idea what order I will be releasing them in.  I just know that they are plotted, the killers developed, and titles chosen.  It’s a great start to next year!

Yes, I have a migraine, so I might kill you

All sorts of migraines exist.  Mine are centered in the left hemisphere in my frontal lobe (right side, in the front).  I have developed two different types of migraines now in that area.

One, which I’ve had since I was 8, is a burning, throbbing pain that expands over a wide portion of my frontal lobe and into other parts of my brain on the right side.  Symptoms of these include personality changes, depression, agitation, trouble speaking, difficulty finding words, impaired motor function, and vision issues.  I also go color blind when it happens.

The second is new.  It’s a stabbing throbbing pain that goes from my skull down to my eye ball.  Even my eyeball throbs with my heart beat.  Symptoms for it are slightly different.  I have trouble seeing out of my right eye when it happens.  My motor skills become impaired and I have personality changes.  No depression, but I become extremely agitated.  I do not become color blind, I do not have trouble speaking or difficulty finding words and it doesn’t burn.  I also have zero warning.

The first is an aura migraine.  Most of the time, I have 20 hours or so to start treating it before the actual migraine hits.  The second just hits.  One minute I’m fine, the next it feels like I have a very long, very wide knife sticking out of my head and the tip is trying to make my eyeball explode from its socket.  Even my hair seems to hurt with this migraine.  I have no idea what kind of migraine it is.  It is very responsive to migraine medicine, in the sense that when I take the meds, it goes away.  As they wear off, it comes back.  And for the record, the migraine meds do not last until the next dose.  So I spend a lot of time just counting the minutes (or hours) until I can take another pill.

Now, when I was younger, the migraine would hit, I’d spend some time throwing up and then I’d pass out.  I no longer do that, although, most of the time, I wish I did.  I had a neurologist once explain that it was tolerance.  I had migraines so frequently, that I was becoming tolerant of the pain.  He also told me it was a very bad sign, since I was in my late teens when it happened.

Eighteen years later, I agree.  I become tolerant of migraine meds very quickly.  My migraines last much longer because I no longer pass out and instead have insomnia with them.  And the only sure-fire way to knock them are all controlled substances.

DHE works incredibly well on my migraines.  I used to get self inject, but they are no longer allowed to distribute DHE in that form.  Now, they require hospitalization and that is about as much fun as putting your head in a blender.  I’ll suffer at home for months before I agree to that ever again.

The other is narcotics.  I miss Darvocet.  It worked well for my migraines and since it was very low on the list of narcotics, doctors were more likely to prescribe it.  Tylenol 3 is a joke.  Codeine absolutely doesn’t help.  Vicodin does help, but not a lot.  I have to start moving into the realm of serious narcotics; Percocet, Demerol, oxymorphine, morphine, and oxycontin all work well, to varying degrees.  Unfortunately, I have enough of these hard to knock migraines that I look like a drug seeking patient.  I know because they have started trying to find alternative meds to put in the migraine cocktail at the ER.  It used to be they filled it with Demerol, Toradol, and Phenergan.  Now, they want to give me just Toradol and Phenergan.  By itself, Toradol doesn’t work.  I wish like hell it did.  I’d ask for a script for it and just pop the pills at home as need be.  Since it’s a nerve medication and not a narcotic, a doctor would be more likely to give me a home prescription of Toradol or even Tramadol.

As a chronic migraine sufferer, you’d think the medical community would be a little more understanding of my condition.  I’m not a drug seeker, I actually hate the way narcotics make me feel (I don’t ever get drunk for the same reason).  I get that we don’t actually understand migraines very well, but I also know that a lot of chronic migraine sufferers have seriously considered suicide as an alternative to the pain.  I’m one of them.  When you enter week three or four or six of a migraine and nothing is helping and no one wants to help you, unless you are admitted to the hospital, it becomes a situation of hopelessness.  You feel like the pain is never going to leave.  You feel as if no one cares.  You feel as if you are losing a part of yourself.

The problem with admission to the hospital for a migraine is that it is at least 72 hours.  That’s 72 hours where you mostly have a migraine, despite the narcotic drip and DHE.  They don’t let you sleep.  They require you to notify them if you need to get up and go to the bathroom, for a woman with Sjogren’s, this means I have to hit that buzzer a lot because I’m always thirsty, so I pee often.  They feed you a liquid diet; so cream of celery soup, cream of wheat cereal, etc,; which does provide you with nutrients, but since I’m no longer throwing my guts up or nauseated with my migraines, I want actual food.  They wake you up during the day and night, if you can manage to fall asleep at all.  The IV drip is horrendous, I usually blow veins.  I have Sjogren’s, I’m plenty hydrated, pushing fluids causes me to swell up, my fingers become vienna sausages and me feet look clubbed.  Not to mention the 22 pounds I gained last time just from fluid retention because they were pushing fluids and I was still drinking my 150 ounces of fluid a day.  And most hospitals do not give migraine patients a private room.

My last roommate was an elderly woman with emphysema and was partially deaf.  She didn’t understand migraines and kept telling me that a headache should not require hsopitalization.  She kept the TV volume really loud and every time she coughed, I wanted to slit her throat because it made my head feel like it was exploding.  The time before that, my roommate was a woman in her 40s who was in there for a broken leg.  I began to keep track of her visitors because there was always people there.  From seven in the morning until nine at night, there was at least two people on her side.  At one point, she had six visitors on her side.  That curtain does not block out sound, especially when the roommate cackled like a crow.  After the visitors left, she wanted to talk to me.  When the nurse came in and explained I had a migraine and probably didn’t want to talk, she turned on the TV to infomercials and then fell asleep with it on.  When I turned it off, she woke up and yelled at me because she was watching it.  However, nothing tops my first roommate.  I’m sure she told me why she was there.  She told me everything else about herself, including her fucking shoe size.  The woman would not shut up.  When my parents or best friend would stop to check up on me, she would talk to them.  At one point, she began singing!  They moved me into a different room on day 2 because I told the nurse if they didn’t drug her, I was going to remove her vocal cords.  The roommate after her was much quieter, a cancer patient that spent most of the next two days throwing up.  How do they expect migraine patients to get better when they are being bombarded by stimuli they can’t control because of a roommate?  How is a hospital a better environment for migraine relief than being at home, where the sufferer does have some control over the stimuli?

Thanks, but no thanks.  That kind of treatment is liable to make me a murderer.  Especially since I do become hostile and aggressive anyway because of a migraine.  (We believe that my personality is deeply affected, because my migraines are centered in the frontal lobe which controls a large part of personality.)  I’d rather suffer at home than be tortured at a hospital.

Fortified Dreams

And the next in the series, Fortified Dreams, has been completed.  Another masterpiece by Covered Creatively!

Fortified Dreams by Hadena James (small version)

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