Analysis of D&R

I mentioned a day or two ago that someone had analyzed all the books in D&R. Today, I’m going to discuss some of the results of that analysis. There was a stance from the beginning of the project that Lyrica and Gabapentin had affected my writing. Both the publication (so slow) and the actual writing of them. Meaning there was quite a bit of comparison built in to the project.

One of the first things noticed was that the key words, the words that showed up most often could identify the book. The book Butchered Dreams had the iteration of Butcher, Butchered, and The Butcher, more than any of the other books in the series. The words Summoning and Summoned showed up more in Summoned Dreams than any other books. This was to be expected, but it was still neat to see it.

For books 1-11 and 14, I averaged 7,000 unique words per book (excluding names). And the readability score (how hard is it to read) were all around 5. For Flawless (book 12) and Demonic (Book 13). My unique words went down significantly to 5,500. And the readability score went up to a 7.1.

I prefer the lower readability score. I know that sounds strange, but one of the best compliments I’ve ever received on the series came from a medical examiner. He told me, “I don’t know anyone who can explain medical stuff like you do in your books.” Essentially, he was congratulating me on being able to get across my ideas in a way that were easy to understand, particularly the state of remains. Despite the fact that I am not involved in the medical field, I try to keep my deaths as realistic as possible. A lower readability score is indicative that nearly everyone can understand what I’m writing about whether it’s the goo that seeps out between the layers of skin when you get a deep cut or the results of a severe impact by a blunt object to the chest.

However, having fewer unique words is not a good thing. It indicates I repeated myself a great deal and failed to use a wide vocabulary while writing. I’m not sure this surprises me. I often complained it felt like I was struggling with aphasia while on these nerve pain medications. And my brain just worked slower and had to work harder to find thoughts, keep plots, and other things.

Furthermore, the books were considerably shorter and took longer to write. One would think that being shorter would mean that the readability score would be lower, but apparently, I didn’t express myself as thoroughly and effectively on Lyrica, as I did off it.

The time between books tripled on Lyrica. And my overall ratings (number of stars) was lower for these two books. Interestingly, from my own analysis of it, I had far fewer unique situations. My normal array of subplots and deaths, just didn’t happen in those 2 books. Even more bizarre, The Dysfunctional Mob is more in line with D&R than either Flawless or Demonic Dreams.

So, I wanted to check readability and unique word score for Ritual Dreams. I wrote half the book on Lyrica and half of it off. The first 13 chapters have a higher readability score, than the last 14. And the first 13 took longer to write than the last 14 chapters. The unique word score is also back to my average, but only because I seem to have expanded my vocabulary in the last 14 chapters.

The conclusion, Lyrica and Gabapentin really did hinder my ability to write.

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But Something Happened

Most of the time, when someone mentions something paranormal or exterrestrial, we all roll our eyes and have a decent chuckle. We often dismiss the situation completely at that moment and put it out of our minds. However, while these explanations seem ridiculous, we often forget that something did have to happen.

Take for example the 1908 Tunguska event. In 1908, a UFO (by the strictest definition, not necessarily aliens) exploded over a remote region of Siberia. We know of the explosion because it flattened trees and drove wildlife off. The most likely explanation is a meteor. Sometimes, after entering Earth’s atmosphere meteorites do indeed explode.

It’s Siberia so there weren’t a lot of witnesses. However, something obviously happened, trees were uprooted and laid down. Plus, for most of the last 100+ years, wildlife has avoided the area and nothing has really grown there.

So, while it is unlikely that an alien spacecraft exploded, there can be no doubt that something extraordinary happened. And that the something did involve radiation, probably from space. I point this out because we know that extreme radiation poisoning of soil does drive away wildlife. We’ve seen it at both Chernobyl and Two Mile Island.

It is easy to snicker and laugh when someone says “it might have been aliens”… But the possibility is less farfetched than we might think. Since the 1950s, humans have been littering outer space with junk in the form of defunct satellites, expelled rocket jets, and even tools lost during space walks and repairs to the ISS and shuttles.

It is illogical to believe we are the only intelligent life in the universe. And it is within reason to believe that other life is just as advanced, if not more so, than us. Is it not possible then that they also have space junk floating around just outside their atmosphere? And if their space junk was caught in the tail of a passing comet, it is possible it could travel millions of miles away from their own planet. Making it possible that some meteors could indeed be space junk from other advanced civilizations on distant planets.

And while I realize a lost wrench from Sirius B is not exactly a little green alien. It is still extraterrestrial. Essentially, the point is, we dismiss this stuff immediately and politely smile. But we humans only truly know so much about our planet and the universe. There are hundreds of things that could be beyond our current explanation, that eventually we’ll understand. This includes ghosts, aliens, and strange happenings like the Tunguska Event. If you had said 300 years ago, that invisible living things caused illness, you would have been snickered at. But today, we know that is the exact cause of most illnesses. Just something to consider the next time you hear Malachi talk about cattle mutilations.

Analytics

My best friend is finishing a second master’s degree in something technology related. One of her classes was big data analytics. She made the decision to analyze the D&R series. There were some interesting things discovered. However, the project isn’t due until today, so I won’t be releasing her findings until later this week.

However, I will go ahead and say she did find significant differences between D&R books written under the influence of Gabapentin and Lyrica and the others in the series. Not just in length or quickness of publishing, but in word choices and things.

Today, though, I have an advert for Elysium Dreams running on BookBub. And Ritual Dreams remains on pre-order for just a couple more days. Just as a reminder, I moved the publishing date from April 1 to March 22nd. So you only have 3 more days to wait.

I also have a much better idea of how this year is going to go (as far as writing is concerned) and can give better estimates on release dates for a couple of books. Avenging Reality will publish at Halloween. Anonymous Dreams will come out in December. Goddess Investigations in July and Oh My Wizard in September. And Dysfunctional Expansion in November.

This does mean a heavy end of the year publishing schedule, but as I am cranking out books pretty easily right now, I realized there was going to end up being a cluster somewhere, might as well have it at the end of the year to kick 2020 off in a good way (November and December royalties won’t pay out until January and February).

PS: I have 3 books that are still marked as WiP that will probably get put out in 2020. All of them are stand-alone novels. Throughout the day, I’ll be checking my Amazon rankings with the BookBub advert running. Tomorrow, I’ll post how it went. Currently, Tortured and Elysium Dreams are ranked #35 and #36 in crime fiction > serial killers on Amazon. I think they will both hit 1 in a couple of categories today. And the rankings on some of the other books in the series will also rise quite a bit. More on that later this week though.

The Truth About UFOs

Everyone says they want the truth when it comes to UFOs. And everyone suspects world governments are covering it up. It’s a great theory, but the truth may not be the best idea when it comes to aliens.

If intelligent aliens are visiting the Earth, I’m not sure people can handle it. Since 6,000 BCE when the Sumerians rose to build the city of Uruk, humans have been having issues with ethnicity. The Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Vikings, Vandals, Mongols, Assyrians, Russians, Germans, Americans, Indians, English, French, we have all had periods of intense racism.

Humans can’t get past genetic differences that cause skin tone differences, do we really think we are civilized enough to handle a totally different and new race? I don’t think we are.

And I’ve heard the arguments that it would bring mankind closer together, as they united against something decidedly not human. But again, I think it would highlight our differences and create more divisions. You’d have those that were pro-alien and those that were anti-alien and that division would probably continue to start wars.

Think about how Americans dealt with abolition. Decades before the Emancipation Proclamation, we human beings were fighting over whether we should or should not support slavery of other humans. Those that were pro-slavery were known to burn down the homes of abolitionists. Free blacks would be captured and taken to the plantations, even if they had never set foot in a southern state. During WWII, Americans who spoke out against the internment of Japanese-Americans were risking their necks.

Why would humans react better to aliens? And humans who wanted to extend rights to extraterrestrials?

The only way aliens unite humanity is if they are hostile, like in Independence Day. As of yet, if aliens are visiting Earth, they are doing it in the same way that Douglas Adams discussed in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, buzzing lesser developed planets and beings.

Unfortunately, this means that if I’m in a position of power and know aliens are visiting, I keep that shit as quiet as possible. And I ensure other world leaders are also keeping that shit to themselves… because the last thing I want is for journalists at the Washington Post or New York Times reporting to Americans or Brits or anyone else that reads their papers, that Kim Jong-Un just brought out a UFO, some alien bodies, and proof of extraterrestrials. That is something I would take quite seriously, like nuclear attack imminent serious. However, since aliens would create mass panic that resulted in toppled governments, if I’m Kim Jong-Un, I’m also not sharing that information for my own protection, which is a fairly good motivator to not break the agreement that says aliens do not exist.

Next week, I have a post about UFOs in the Soviet Union.

Learning About The Dark Web

I’ve been hammering away on Innocent Dreams as of late. I got the idea while doing the final bits of research for Ritual Dreams (it happens more than one might think). I had read an article about a cult that made a good deal of money selling child porn on the dark web. And suddenly, I needed a book about a snuff film being sold on the dark web. Fiona needs more parts anyone. Gabriel, Lucas, and Xavier have all played first fiddle in a book while Ace played second… So yes, Innocent Dreams would be Fiona’s time to shine.

I thought “I got this.” After all, what better way to learn about the dark web than the internet. I quickly realized that scholarly articles about the dark web aren’t as plentiful as I thought. But that’s okay, because my best friend works in cyber security. And I’m not an idiot, I am capable of learning…

And therefore, “I still got this.”

Famous last words. My readers know that I try to be as accurate as possible about everything. It’s part of the reason I do a ton of research (that I just like to do research). I’ve put down over 15,000 words on Innocent Dreams and in my spare time, I’ve been researching the dark web, cyber crime, and how to catch cyber criminals.

I will point out now, that I started Innocent Dreams, with only the vaguest ideas about the dark web. I mean I read news articles about the bringing down of the Silk Road when it happened. I’ve looked at some Ranker lists about disturbing shit on the dark web. And that’s it. That is literally all I know about it, except that I have to use a client like TOR to access it. Which I don’t have. I have never even looked at a web page on the dark web, let alone have an understanding of what it does. This is an area of technology that has gone right over my head, completely.

A while ago, I banged out a paragraph in which Fiona is trying to explain how things work on the Dark Web and sent it to my best friend, because despite the articles I have read, I’m still a little fuzzy on it. Her reply was kindly, considering I had it almost completely wrong still. I tried to implement her suggested changes regarding something about nodes which are used to back track traffic or something.

But let’s be honest, when it comes to the dark web, I’m an idiot. For instance, I was introduced to the term Dark Net in several articles. Fine, originally I thought it was just an alternate name for the dark web… But the more articles I read, the more I began to think it was some sort of shopping network on the dark web, not unlike Silk Road had been, but with more security measures and things. As I write this, I’m still not entirely sure which description of Dark Net is accurate.

I have some serious techie readers, which has created this fear they might read Innocent Dreams and go “OMG it’s the literary version of The Net! How dreadful!” Which would indeed be dreadful.

On January 30, 2019, I surpassed 20,000 words. My best friend is currently getting another master’s degree and I will have to beg her to look over Innocent Dreams when I finish so she can correct some of the technical stuff… But otherwise, I think it’s going pretty good.

Travel Without Immunity

A few blog posts ago, I commented that I didn’t have measles immunity despite having had measles and vaccinations. And it’s obvious that I love history. Some of the things I would love to do in life, is see some places in the world that correspond to my love of early civilizations. Egypt and Belize are two of the places I would love to see before I die… But it’s not going to happen.

In 2006, I went to Berlin, Germany. Beautiful place. I didn’t want to come back. But as I prepared for the trip I had to get a couple of immunizations against hepatitis or something. I don’t remember now. At the time, I was given another round of MMRs that didn’t change my immunity or lack thereof to measles.

Recently, I was watching one of those exploration shows and it dawned on me that no matter how much I want to see Belize, Mexico, or Egypt, I literally can’t. On the show, the host ran across a group of kids outside a church. They looked a little lost and sad. The host commented that he had been told there was a measles outbreak in the town and nearly half the population was sick as a result. The kids outside the church were asymptomatic, but were being taken care of by the church because they had family members that were sick at home.

Well, damn, I’d never thought of that. Countries like Belize, Egypt, and Mexico do not require vaccinations against most diseases and they are expensive enough that most people can’t afford them unless there is a free clinic that pops up offering them. The population is always at risk for outbreaks of diseases that have been mostly eradicated from countries like Germany, the US, Canada, the UK, France, etc.

This makes these countries no go zones for me. I’ve had lots of friends take Caribbean cruises, but I get sea sick, so I’ve never even given serious consideration to one. Which is probably good.

The measles virus can survive in the environment for a dozen or so hours. This means that even if I never left the ship, I could still be exposed to the measles virus. Anyone who goes off ship could potentially carry measles back on board via clothing or souvenirs they purchased.

It is something I have never thought of before, because nobody that lives in a country where these deadly diseases don’t happen very often, thinks about immunity. We’ve been vaccinated, we’re safe. Unless we’re not.

And so, at 1:42 in the morning, my dreams of seeing Mayan temples or The Great Pyramid of Giza up close and personal, die a painful death.

The Importance of Bricks

A small history post to prepare you for another holiday event, New Year’s Eve. World War I was a miserable time to be a soldier for everyone involved. Trenches were a disaster that created frozen stalemates between opposing forces and the emphasis is on frozen there. However, trenches and air combat would highlight the importance of bricks.

I’m sure everyone just said “um, what?” Yep, the importance of bricks. If all the powers had been shipping truckloads of bricks, we would have had far fewer necessary amputation surgeries as a result of frostbite, which would have saved a lot of lives. In the final year of the war, a trench dug in France was dug near a brickmaker.

To help out the non-German forces, he gave all the bricks he could to the soldiers in the trenches. And the soldiers lined the walls and the ground with the bricks. It was possibly the warmest trench around and the bricks channeled the water away from their feet, preserving their feet from being both wet and damp in the trench and resulting in fewer cases of frostbite.

Also, the bricks could be heated and used to generate warmth for longer periods of time than just a wood fire provided. Turns out a brick lined trench is much cozier than a regular trench.

But it wasn’t limited to the trenches. There was a new invention that came around in time for WWI, the airplane. However, the usefulness of it was limited. It was reserved for spying. However, by the middle of the war, both sides had started packing bricks, bottles, and anything else they could manage into the floor compartments where they stuck their feet.

The second guy in the plane would hurl these makeshift missles out at other airplanes and at enemy platoons below. Eventually, all pilots were issued handguns with extra ammo and enemies began shooting at each other with these.

It would be WWII before airplanes with mounted guns were used in air combat. Of course another big change would occur in airplane manufacturing between WWI and WWII. They would go from being built of wood and paper to metal skins over metal frames. These heavier frames and skins, were what allowed them to have guns mounted on them.

And that is how something as simple as a brick could and did change the face of warfare.

The Creation of the Grim Reaper

Most countries settled by Europeans have the figure we know as the Grim Reaper ingrained into their culture.  The Grim Reaper, also known as the personification of death has its origins in the early Middle Ages.  As a matter of fact, one can trace it all the way back to the days of the Black Death – the Bubonic Plague pandemic that killed roughly half the European population.

This blog post could easily end right here, of course the personification of death was a prevalent theme of the 1300s, everyone was dying.  But then the importance of the Grim Reaper to history would be left out.  

The first known appearance of the black clad figure holding a scythe comes from Germany.  It was reported that a tall gaunt figure dressed in a black monk’s robe and hood was standing in a field swinging a scythe above a field of crops and everyone that ate the crops from that field developed the Black Death.

Which is interesting, because epidemiological research has proven the normal carrier method of Bubonic Plague would not have spread it so far and wide.  Somehow, the Black Death became communicable person to person via the air, which is not how it normally spreads.  In other words, it spread like a cold or influenza.  This is why it is considered a highly virulent and communicable form of bubonic plague, a mutation that made it more deadly and that did not require a zoological host such as a rat or rather a flea from a rat to transmit it.

The idea that these black clad figures were the cause of the Black Death traveled out from Germany to the rest of the continent as the plague spread.  It became such a mainstream idea that the Grim Reaper continues as part of the collective conscious seven hundred years later. 

I’ve heard an Ancient Alien theory that suggests the Grim Reaper was actually an alien race spreading plague on Earth to control the population explosion that was happening in the 1200s and 1300s. I’ve also heard the theory that the Grim Reaper was the antithesis of the Mothman.  Theoretically, Mothman comes to warn of potential mass deaths, while the Grim Reaper comes to cause them.    

Instances of Mothman not connected to the Silver Bridge

I spoke earlier this week about Mothman and that he is not native to Point Pleasant, nor is that the only place he’s been seen.  He appeared off and on to residents of Point Pleasant, WV in the year preceding the collapse of the Silver Bridge.  The Silver Bridge had passed its last inspection when it suffered a structural failure in December 1967 , killing 46 people.  I also mentioned that as of 2017, there have been more than 100 sightings of him in Chicago, many coming in 2018.  Finally, I mentioned he is thought to foretell disasters and that there were reports of him around Pripyat, Ukraine in 1985, the year before the meltdown at Chernobyl.  Here’s some other post 1968 sightings of Mothman.

Between September 6 and 10, 2001, there were two dozen reports of Mothman being seen around the campus of the World Trade Center in New York City.  At least seven of those reports exist within the files of the NYPD, proving two things; they truly did exist before the attacks on September 11, 2001 and that at least some people who saw the creature were concerned enough to alert the New York City Police Department.  

For a month in 2007, a Mothman like creature was reported to be hanging out near 1-35 in Minneapolis.  Reports were prolific enough that it made the news in late July.  As a matter of fact, there were so many reports, that the Minnesota Conservation department put out a reward for a crane or heron of abnormally large size, deciding that the creature had to be a heron or a crane that was being misidentified possibly due to a deformity.  On August 1, 2007 a bridge on I-35 collapsed killing 13 and injuring more than 130 others.  

Now, for the largest mass sighting.  In August 1985, in a single day, more than 50 citizens of Pripyat, Ukraine reported to their Soviet leaders in Pripyat that a large bat like creature had been seen near Chernobyl, a nuclear power plant run by the Soviet Union.  The group made up of both private citizens and members of the Soviet government had been attending some sort of event near Chernobyl although the Russian and Ukrainian governments did not say what sort of event when they released the papers.  Less than a year later, on April 16, 1986 reactor 4 at the nuclear power plant would suffer a catastrophic failure during a safety test that would lead to one of the worst nuclear disasters ever.

Finally, in April 2009 multiple people reported seeing Mothman in Mexico.  He was witnessed by nearly every resident of a village in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico.  And by the end of 2009, La Junta was a terribly hard hit village by the Swine Flu Pandemic of 2009.  The first cases of the highly virulent and mutated strain of H1N1 flu virus were found in Veracruz, Mexico.  There is 900 miles between Veracruz a wealthy state in the Southern Gulf Region of Mexico and the state of Chihuahua which borders the US.  When the first sightings of Mothman came in, Swine Flu had not yet reached Chihuahua.  Perhaps it is telling however, that his first appearance was in a cemetery in La Junta, Mexico.

A bonus piece of information, in 1931 a human-batlike creature (this predates tales of Batman, just FYI) was seen in Oświęcim, Poland.  Sightings were infrequent and only a few accounts still exist.  Loren Coleman who has extensively researched the subject believes sightings ended in March 1939, after the start of WWII.  In the last months of 1939, construction would begin on the most diabolical concentration camp built by the Nazis – Auschwitz-Birkenau.  The location is just south of the Polish city of Oświęcim.  

And now, he’s been reported by 100s of people in Chicago, IL since 2017.  As a harbinger of doom, it makes one wonder about traveling to Chicago anytime soon.  I will report on the first apparent sighting.  In July 2017, a bouncer working a club reported that he stepped away from the buildings because a large plane was going overhead at what he thought was a considerably low altitude.  He said that underneath it, he saw a winged batlike human flying.  It startled him so much that he reported it to the security guard on duty, who was an off duty Chicago police officer and the security guard managed to come out in time to corroborate his story.  Most reports seem to come from the areas around Lake Michigan and Navy Pier, although some have come in from downtown and a few neighborhoods located in downtown Chicago.  

Skeptics are blaming the film industry, as the Dark Knight trilogy sets Gotham in Chicago, not New York as traditionally portrayed (although Gotham is a fictional place created by DC comics that was an amalgam of New York, Chicago, and Pittsburgh).  

Another source says he’s been chronicling flying mothman like hominids in Chicago for more than a decade and they don’t mean anything except there is something weird going on in Chicago.  

Linguistics

I recently mentioned I was working my way through all the Agatha Christie novels.  I don’t read a lot of books set in the 1910s and 1920s.  It was an important era, but just not one of my favorites.  I read classics much older and newer pop novels, those are where my reading interests lean.  I haven’t been physically reading them, but listening to the audiobooks.  And the audiobooks make me more aware of the linguistics of the era.  

For example, a common phrase at the time was “my girl,” but the stress on that phrase makes it sound very unlike “my girl” from the 1950s and 1960s.  I don’t know that I can verbally explain it, but essentially the stress is not on “my” as it is in for example the song by the Temptations.  As a matter of fact, after much pondering on it, I’m not sure there is any stress within the short two word phrase, which may explain why it sounds so odd to my ears every time it is said.  Also, it is said as if it were one word, another factor in the sound

After all the Miss Marple books, 4 Hercule Poirot books, and 2 stand alone novels by Agatha Christie, I have decided I really like the phrase and it should make a comeback.  This means my best friend may have to suffer a bit with me calling her “my girl.”  

Anyway, the point is literature is an amazing look at linguistics for a time period.  Modern pop novels (which is essentially what Christie wrote) will no doubt provide words like “sick” – meaning awesome or terrible – and “bae.”  

It isn’t just dependent on the words and phrases, but how they are said, like the example I started this post with. And it’s about regional differences, while “my girl” was popular in the 1910s and 1920s in England it was not common in the US, Canada, or Australia among English speakers.  But was common in France, spoken in both English and French among a predominantly French speaking population. 

Before you give yourself a headache considering why it was popular in France but not in other English speaking countries, it’s about location.  Despite the existence of a water barrier between England and France, the two countries are only separated by 23 miles.  It was much easier for Brits to holiday in northern France after WWI than in any of the English speaking countries mentioned.  And so French speakers picked up English slang, just as Brits picked up French slang.  We see this happen in more modern times as well.  I was surprised when I learned that Germans swear in English more than German because it is considered less rude.  But historically speaking, it makes sense.  With the occupation of Germany by the Allied Powers after WWII, Germans were in contact with numerous English speakers (Brits, Canadians, Americans, even Australians to a lesser degree) all resided within the borders of Germany.  BAOR and Ramstein Air Force Base still bring thousands of English speakers into Germany.  As a matter of Fact BAOR (which is an acronym not a name) is the largest British military base outside of  UK borders and Ramstein is still strategically important to the US Air Force.

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