In The News

Last week, as I scrolled through the Apple News app on my phone, a headline caught my attention: Vatican Hopes to Train 400 New Exorcists in 2021. I can’t tell you if it was a CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC, or NY Times article. After reading the headline all I could think was it had to be The Onion or one of the other spoof news agencies and I checked for that… It wasn’t so I read the article because how can you not?

The gist of the article: The Vatican claims demonic possession has risen steadily since 2018 and they don’t have enough exorcists as a result and estimate they need to train 400 new exorcists in 2021 to keep up with growth.

Interestingly, the majority of these newly trained exorcists are destined for the US, Canada, and Mexico because Catholics in these three countries are experiencing the fastest and largest increase in demonic possessions. The article further stated the pandemic increased the rate of demonic possession making 2020 a very busy year for exorcists.

When I was practicing Catholicism in the 1990s, no one ever mentioned exorcism to me. I’d seen the movie The Exorcist and read the book, so I knew it happened, but it wasn’t talked about and my local priest frowned and tutted me when I asked if he were a trained exorcist. The subject was treated as if demonic possession were an archaic ritual. Catechism would have been a hell of a lot more interesting if it had included lectures on demonic possession.

Anyway, 30 years later… demonic possession is no longer a deep dirty secret: I went searching for the source of the article (it was BBC) and found over a dozen articles on Catholic exorcists and demonic possession on assorted news sites just in the last 3 years. That triggered a thought, is demonic possession on the rise because it’s lost it’s stigma enough that the Vatican encourages priests and cardinals to give interviews talking about it? Or is it on the rise because possession is becoming easier?

I am intrigued by paranormal and preternatural possibilities, but I lack belief. This is complicated by the fact that I don’t believe mankind needs a nemesis such as “the Devil” and “demons;” people are capable of great evil without assistance. For example, my best friend and I were discussing what history taught us about Nazi atrocities recently. Now, we were discussing basic middle school and high school classes, not the information learned in college classes. I remember the atmosphere experiments because the “research” helped NASA and the Navy understand what happened to the body in a zero gravity environment as well as the bottom of the ocean where the weight of several atmospheres crush down on objects. I also remember hearing of the experiments where the testicles of men and boys in the concentration camps were sliced off and “kept warm” to see how long testicles continued to produce sperm and if they could be surgically reattached if kept alive. I remember these things because concentration camp hospitals did not use anesthesia for any of their experiments and I remember thinking “my god, these people were awake when these things were done!” Hitler and his minions didn’t require the council of demons to encourage them to commit evil acts on their captives.

In comparison the tortures of demons are quaint and unimaginative. Of course a lack of need does not prove a lack of existence. Humans do not require mosquitoes and yet they exist, therefore demons might exist even though humans don’t require them to be evil. But I have digressed a great deal.

Any time the Vatican announces it requires more exorcists to keep up with possession cases, it piques my interest. There are implications of possession that go beyond the philosophical discussions on the existence of demons. The US experiences copious amounts of gun violence, so at what point does someone shoot up a nightclub full of people and claim they were demonically possessed and end up sentenced to 15 years for multiple murder? Or at what point do we revert back to thinking someone is demonically possessed due to severe mental illness, and fail to get them treatment? As a general rule, modern day exorcists are trained to identify symptoms of mental illness according to the Indiana priest who performed the most recent newsworthy exorcism. But mental illness is not always “straightforward” or “typical” and the manifestation of symptoms can run from “typical” to “excessively strange” resulting in misdiagnosis even by trained psychiatrists with decades of experience. This means some patients will get labeled demonically possessed simply because priests are rarely trained practicing psychiatrists.

A Complaint

Yesterday was hot in Missouri. We went to the campground. It was the sort of hot that made sweat instantly begin to pour out of your skin and your clothes are damp within moments.

I didn’t know my glasses and sweat were incompatible. I sweated so much my nose is raw from where the glasses slipped down my nose and had to be pushed back into place repeatedly.

That never once happened with my sunglasses. I didn’t know chaffing due to my glasses would happen. I considered not wearing them today to give my nose time to heal, because there is a scabby sore on each side of the bridge where the skin wore off. But I can’t see shit without them.

Today, I am finding the spots annoying. I’ve noticed as I age I sweat more (both in quantity and frequency). Neither of these things were covered in 9th grade health class. I feel like it should have been, I mean these are things people should know and be prepared for… I’ve never been a “big” sweat producer, I can remember when I was a kid and even as a teen, I could be outside in 100 degree heat for hours and not even have damp hair when I went inside. Now that I’m 40 that has changed. Yesterday, even in the camper with air conditioning my hair grew damp and I’ve already mentioned the nose chaffing.

Sweating was like sunburns: things that happened to other people when I was young. Now that I’ve been on birth control for 30 years, I get sunburns. I sort of wondering if the gallons of sweat I now produce every summer is also medication related.

I have always been heat tolerant, more so than cold. Give me a 100 degree day over a 40 degree one anytime. But in the last 4 years, I have started noticing I get hot faster, have a harder time cooling down, and even get “heat sick” when I’m outside in the heat for long. Two years ago I realized the “heat sick” became worse if I took a pain pill while outside.

I know direct sunlight breaks me out in hives these days and I’ve been told it’s phototoxicity caused by birth control use (however hives are significantly less painful than ovarian cysts… so I will live with the hives and try to cover up better). I suspect the opiate I take to lower my nerve pain from CPRS is causing a decrease in my heat tolerance. Well, that and general aging.

But thinking back… my health class covered giving birth (scarred me for life to watch the video of a birth – thankfully, I already knew I didn’t want kids by then) and side effects of illegal drug use like Mush Mouth and extreme weight loss associated with stimulant use. But not once did my teacher say “after puberty, your hormones will continue to fluctuate sometimes drastic and erratic and sometimes gradually for and your body will continue to experience major changes as you age.” I believe that should have been an entire hour lecture: hormones & the rest of your life….

Okay now to work. I have to finish editing Competitive Dreams.

I’m Not Dead

I’m not dead… I did think for a while I was going to be the first person to die as a direct result of seasonal allergies, but they are getting better. For several weeks, I was working only in the morning because by afternoon my sinus headache bordered on a migraine and I was sleeping the afternoons away. I started handwriting a book while going through the worst of this, because using my computer made the headache worsen faster.

I have finished writing Competitive Dreams and am editing it.

Spring was dreadful. My allergies were the worst I have ever experienced. I think I had a headache every day of March, April, and part of May. Now that the heat has begun and tree pollen dropped they are improving and I feel mostly human. As you can imagine; I feel way behind on everything and am busily trying to get caught up on stuff. I am hopeful I will be releasing NN4 in the near future. If not the end of June then first part of July. An announcement will be posted on here when I do finish.

Audiobooks for Elysium Dreams and Mercurial Dreams will release August 17th. The revised ebook and paperback of Tortured Dreams will release around June 23rd. For most platforms your ebook copy will automatically update. The revised edition of Tortured Dreams contains killer chapters that help illustrate the motivations of the killers. As well as removing some of the repetitiveness of the expositional chapters.

Competitive Dreams Complete

I finished writing Competitive Dreams… I am now working on a self edit of the book, before sending it to the content editor. The serial killer club closed after the death of The Ghost Maker in Fortified Dreams.

In Competitive Dreams the club reopens with a new leader and in the words of Sherlock Holmes, the game is afoot. Mictlan the Collector administrator of the reformed club is in need of something and he hopes a competition between killers will help him find it. In his arrogance, he decides to host it in beautiful Kansas City. What better way to prove the SCTU is inept and incapable of reducing the serial killer population than to host it in the metro area where they live?

The ideal for this book came to me after solving a Deadbolt Mystery Box with my best friend titled Duel. In which a serial killer club in the fictitious city of Valley Falls holds a competition between two members to find out which of them is the better killer. The loser in that one gets captured by the Will Street Detective Agency (who you assist with most Deadbolt Boxes).

After solving it, I was like I have a defunct serial killer club in D&R…. I could reactivate it with a new leader and have a competition. That would make an awesome book. And so I did.

Competitive Dreams will release Halloween 2021. Deadbolt now ships internationally as well as in the US… I highly recommend it for a fun night with friends. Deadbolt mystery boxes served as my pandemic stress reliever. My best friend and I would open Zoom and solve a box whenever one of us needed a break from reality or just because we had one to solve.

We are currently waiting for an electrician to show up and tell us if the lack of hot water is a breaker box issue or if our hot water heater has gone bad (hence my being up this early). I didn’t realize things broke in groups of three in a house. So far in 2021 we’ve replaced our garage doors, now it will be either our breaker box or water heater (although we are pretty sure it’s the water heater) and in April we had to replace the elements in said water heater. Sunday it began kicking the breaker when it turned on… Tuesday it stopped turning on altogether. After the week we’ve had, I am really looking forward to solving a puzzle on Saturday morning.

Updates: NN4, Competitive Dreams, Etc

I have been really busy lately and so haven’t spent much time on the internet or social media. My allergies are still bothering me. The new meds have helped some, but not as much as I’d like. It turns out sinus headaches make me sleep more and I have been going to bed early nearly every night (early for me so between 10 and 11:30 pm), and napping nearly every afternoon. Thankfully, the allergy induced vertigo has decreased considerably since I started on the new allergy medications. But I’m still getting sinus headaches nearly every night when grass and tree pollen is moderate to high. They come on quicker when both are “very high.” However, I have lots of updates. My sinuses have been so bad, that aside from avoiding social media and the internet (where things tend to “scroll”), I have been avoiding my computer more and I am currently handwriting a book… I got some new fountain pens at the end of April (I love fountain pens, they write so smoothly), and decided since the computer is a problem, I am handwriting the book and transferring it to the computer as I complete chapters.

  • The audiobooks for Elysium Dreams and Mercurial Dreams will now release August 17, 2021. We are very sorry for the delays.
  • Nephilim Narratives 4: Movement in the Shadows is undergoing its second round of edits and I hope to release it towards the end of June.
  • Competitive Dreams the next D&R novel will go for the first round of edits next week. As of now, my intention is to release it at Halloween 2021.
  • I have fully plotted a standalone novel and will start writing it next week while I wait on the second round of edits to come back on NN4.
  • NN5 has been started.
  • The Dysfunctional Christmas is about to go through an intensive brain storming session and I hope to release it at Christmas 2021.
  • I am working to recreate the novella Shots Fired which I lost when my computer turned Triggered Reality into gobbledygook last year. Once I finish it, it will go through editing and be released by itself for $0.99.
  • Premium Content is moving to Patreon, I had hoped to get it up and running in June… but it’s going to be July or August. If WordPress continues to charge you for premium content, please contact them, as I have been unable to find a “help topic” that explains how to unsubscribe to a specific bloggers premium content.

The next update probably won’t be until I get the edits finished on NN4 and am ready to release it or until I get rid of more of my allergy symptoms this year as typing this short bit has made my eyes water and feel like they are full of sand while making my nightly sinus headache worse.

Life & Everything

It’s been a rough couple of weeks, we’ve had to have a plumber out to unclog our kitchen sink, our garage doors have issues and have to be replaced. We think that is going to be done in about two weeks. I can write okay, but editing still triggers vertigo making work on NN4 incredibly slowly. I was told unless the new allergy medications work, I’ll just have to ride it out until the tree pollen drops from incredibly high to moderate.

Interestingly, social media “moves” just like editing does and it too triggers vertigo, so I have not been online much either. As does being outside, so I think my vitamin D levels have dropped below their normal “high levels” because all of this together has left me dealing with a mild case of depression.

I don’t feel “low” very often, so when it does happen I’m never sure what to do about it. I’m forcing myself outside for at least a few hours every couple of days because I haven’t been “working outside” much which isn’t helping my mood. Usually my early May I’m working outside more than inside going into my office only on days the weather is too wet to work outside.

The ENT told me he didn’t think my allergies had gotten worse, it was the trees. He said tree pollen was higher this year than it had been in several decades and he’s seen a ton of people struggling with increased symptoms (both in number as well as intensity). Which basically sums me up. I am having more symptoms and they are more intense this year. I’d already switched from Flonase to Nasacort earlier in April, now I’ve traded out Zyrtec for Xyzal on the ENTs recommendation and I’m hoping in a few days some of my symptoms will be relieved with the replacement allergy medication.

If I’m really lucky (and I’m not feeling very lucky lately), the replacement allergy medication will calm down the vertigo enough for me to edit. Right now, I always have a touch of vertigo because of my allergies and so skipping from change to change or comment to comment makes it much worse and I have to go lay down to stop the world spinning.

So that’s what is going on in my world right now. I hope to have Competitive Dreams written completely by the end of next week at which point I’ll send it to be edited. Once I can work on the NN4 edits, I will get it to the second round of editors and then it will publish whenever they get it done.

Allergy Induced Vertigo

There is little we can do about the vertigo I’ve been suffering the last few weeks. It’s being caused by my allergies.

So I stopped and picked up different allergy medication on my way home from the doctor today. I’ll start it tonight and hopefully it will make it more tolerable if nothing else. I really just need it to bring the vertigo down to a level where I can finish editing NN4.

I have tried convincing my body tree pollen isn’t an invading enemy force but it doesn’t listen. I can only imagine how much worse it would be if the pine tree was still in our backyard.

I will continue to work slowly on NN4 edits and tough it out as much as possible, but I’m thinking it’s going to be late June before I get it published at this rate.

Premium Content and Other Stuff

I am still editing NN4. I’ve been at it a week. It keeps making me sick. Hopefully next week, I can get something done about my ears. At which point editing will go much faster. Right now with the “jumping” around that happens when you accept/reject changes, address comments, it keeps triggering vertigo. This means I work for thirty minutes to an hour and then I get sick and feel like a zombie the rest of the day.

Last year in March and April we were discussing putting a tube in my right ear to deal with Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. We stopped because my father died and COVID hit big time. However, it’s obvious we’re going to have to continue that this year.

Someone asked me an interesting question this week “Are you worried about getting a tube put in your ear drum with the Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?” Yes and no. Yes, I am slightly worried we will cause the pain to spread to my ear, but I can’t live like this. I had a doctor’s appointment across town Friday and the drive there and back triggered vertigo. I had to come home and take a several hour nap. I felt okay when I got up, but I was only able to edit about 45 minutes total yesterday as a result. That’s less than a chapter. Seeing as how I can’t hardly ride in a car or edit without getting sick, I’ll just have to risk spreading pain to my ear with a tube, because it is less problematic than having vertigo 90% of the time.

Because of my ear issues, I did not post premium content last week… which worked out. You should stop being charged for premium content this month as I prepare to move it in June/July from WordPress to Patreon. Unfortunately, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time to dedicate to the move.

Elysium and Mercurial Dreams audiobooks are still in production. We are hoping to get them out sometime in late May. I will update you when they finally release. This blog will continue, I am only moving Premium Content away from the blog. My thoughts plus release information will still be available here.

Return of the Living Dead – Me Edition

I spent close to a week wearing a hand brace for “texter’s thumb” which I didn’t get from texting. Saturday April 24th I awoke with the right side of my face mildly swollen. Sunday while outside working in my garden, I got vertigo. I came in the house, took a nap, and went back outside where I got vertigo again. Facial swelling plus vertigo… I have an inner ear problem AGAIN. And of course, Krissy got her edits on NN4 completed and to me this weekend.

My first call Monday morning is the ENT, obviously my theory that there’s something wrong with my eustachian tube on the right side is correct, because I don’t have ear pain or hearing loss, but my right ear feels weird into my face. The swelling is from my ear to my bottom jaw on that side. It also doesn’t hurt, it’s kind of strange feeling; my skin feels taut and a bit tingly there. I explain all my symptoms to the nurse at the ENT and she tells me “it doesn’t sound like an infection and the doctor noted he suspected you had adult eustachian tube dysfunction could you come in May 4th?” I can, what should I do until then?

“There probably isn’t much you can do. If you were experiencing pain, I’d tell you to go to urgent care. Without it, it’s probably just inflammation and you don’t handle oral steroids very well. Are you taking allergy medications?” I am, I switched it up in Mid-April moving away from Flonase to Nasacort, which has worked a lot better with my symptoms, and I’m taking Zyrtec. “Well, stay on those and if you find heat helps with the swelling you can apply a heated compress to your face a couple times a day if you want. The other issue is you said the swelling wasn’t really obvious and you have other health issues, so even going to get a steroid shot at urgent care, could be misleading. If it starts to hurt in your face or ear, call us back or go to urgent care if it’s intense.”

Great, what do I do about the vertigo? My new regimen is to wake up and take a Dramamine to try to prevent vertigo. After I talked to her, I did take a Dramamine and it helped for about 4 hours. I even went outside and worked for a while. However, when it wore off, it wore off fast and I scrambled to get all my stuff packed and inside. The way the nurse talked, when I come in May 4th, they are going to look in my ear, check my hearing and immediately schedule me to get a tube in that ear, because the inflammation is caused by my eustachian tube keeping fluid behind my ear drum by failing to work properly. I just have to survive until then.

As a result, it will probably be June before NN4 publishes, because I am struggling to work on the first round of edits so it can go for copy editing. I feel like a zombie all day from the Dramamine and moving my head too fast can trigger vertigo as does being outside for a long time.

Premium Content (Yearly): Draft NN4 – Chapter 25

I have started two creative writing courses this week. The first is about writing horror. It’s been interesting and I’m enjoying it. I’m hoping it makes me a better horror writer. The second course is mystery writing, to make myself a better mystery writer. Both show promise, but I think I will get more out of the horror writing class than the mystery. Oddly, I am still working on Competitive Dreams as I start these courses, and I admit I am a little concerned about it. I had hoped to be finished with Competitive Dreams before the courses started. I have concerns that the courses will change the writing style for the end of the book; it happens with me. I learn a new technique and immediately want to apply it to something; it can feel disjointed.