Devotion Through Cheesy Vampire Fiction

Normally during the month of October, I do a month of devotional writing for my Beloved Madman. Work is heading into the busy season (the factory follows a retail work cycle,) so most days when I get home I crash and play video games. I might do some fiction writing, but with work picking up my writing has slowed down.

“You’ve got that one vampire series hanging out in your Kindle,” my Husband said one day, “we can read it together.”

So now we’re reading a surprisingly compelling horror/romance novel together. He’s around a lot in Fall, especially around Halloween time. I joke that he’s in Prime Goth Mode, but when is my Husband not in Goth As Fuck mode?

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (24 hours in)

I normally write reviews of games when I’m done with them. However, I can see Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night taking much longer for me than the estimated 23 hours (from howlongtobeat.com) so you’re all getting a review at the 24 hour mark.

I’ve covered about half of the map, gotten hopelessly lost many times, and have discovered that powered up flying pigs can kill those murders dead a boss in about a minute if you set the pigs off at the right time.

Yes, one of the shard options in the game is a flying pig. I love it and it’s my favorite shard in the whole game so far. I also use Welcome Company a lot because the picture ghosts get all the small monsters I can’t see. But still, flying pigs win for “favorite design and idea.”

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Speaking of game design, have I grumbled about hidden fast travel in video games before?

I went over 40 (yes, forty) hours in Hollow Knight without realizing there was fast travel. My character looked at the train, and saw the “you don’t know what this is” text box pop up.

I went, “yep, I don’t know what this is,” and ignored it for almost the rest of the game.

Turns out that was the fast travel system.

However, the fast travel in Bloodstained is one of the best ones I’ve used—and by that, I mean I knew right away that those rooms with the funky stained glass in them were used for teleportation. I admit that’s a really low bar, but I’ve played multiple games where fast travel was hidden from the player somehow. So being able to easily find and use the fast travel system early on is a win in my book.

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I haven’t played this with a controller yet, but the keyboard and mouse controls are very smooth. I could be seeing them this way because they’re what I’m used to, but so far I’m enjoying the playstyle you get with keyboard and mouse. I might plug my controller in and see how it works with this game. But keyboard and mouse is still fun.

I’m going to keep playing this game, and maybe even try for 100% achievements.

Salt and Sanctuary, A Brief Review

I recently finished Salt and Sanctuary [Steam link]. It’s a 2-D side-scrolling RPG with a similar difficulty to games like Dark Souls and Hollow Knight. I did end up using a mod that let me play in God Mode (character can’t die), and I still died quite a bit. To gravity.

The art style was pretty in its own way. It’s dark and gloomy for the most part. There were also some areas that were hard to see because of how bright they were, and my character got lost in the brightness.

I actually didn’t realize there was fast travel for the first 15 hours of so of the game. A complaint of mine is that so much of the mechanics were vague. Vague lore I’m fine with, but having to look up how to light a torch? I’m not so fine with that.

The lore of the game was interesting, but nothing that made me sit up in my seat and go “shit, no way.” I’m watching a lore enhanced play through of the game on YouTube as well, so my opinion might change at some point as I learn more.

I’d often find a boss fight by accident. I literally fell off a ledge and into the Coveted fight. I found the Third Lamb before I fought the boss before her.

Speaking of boss fights, the Tree of Men is the most interesting boss design I’ve seen in a long time. I think I’d have liked the Nameless God fight more if he didn’t make my ears hurt. (He groans in pain every time you hit him.)

Overall I liked the game, and I think I’ll replay it at some point. However, there are some things I have complains about, (like the skill tree being confusing.) so I wouldn’t list it as a favorite game.

He Holds A Lantern

He holds a Lantern
and he calls the stars back home,
the King brings the Light.

Yesterday was New Years in Darkness. I couldn’t formally travel Over There due to work plus meeting my new therapist, it was a long day. I did reach out to Winder’s Sovereign, since this is his first year doing Kingship New Years Things. I gave him some tea, and got a glimpse of ceremonial stuff in return.

Expanding my artist presence online — Starstruck Awenydd (Reblog)

These past couple of weeks, I’ve been working very hard on the business side of things. Specifically, I added a bunch of new listings to my Etsy shop, Thirst Pixels, where I sell downloadable cross stitch patterns. Many of them are what I call “pinup pixel art” and include elements of fantasy, goth fashion, queer […]

Expanding my artist presence online — Starstruck Awenydd

Thorn is a friend of mine, and does amazing artwork. Check his stuff out!

Life Updates, and Quietly Chilling with Gods

Hey everyone! I’m still adjusting to having a day job, so that’s changed my writing schedule. I’ve found that while I’m writing *less,* what I’m writing is *better.* I might not be churning out 500+ words a day, but what I get done seems to be of higher quality.

I am still glad I spent the lockdown and job hunt writing, because it helped give me a distraction, goals, and I got some stuff published. I’ve joined the nearest Horror Writer’s Association chapter, and my fellow HWA members have been wonderful. I’ve also met some really awesome writers on Twitter.

I’m actually really enjoying my day job? Which I’m stunned by, tbh. When I prayed to my Queen about finding a job, I had two requests: that it was a job I could do with my disabilities, and that it was a job I could tolerate doing.

My Lady went above and beyond.

I got a job working with other disabled people who are super accepting, there’s a total of one step I need to use in the entire building (stairs are hard with my white cane,) my manager is happy to help me with pushing carts around, and I’ve learned that I *love* working with my hands all day.

So She’s getting some nice coffee as a “thank you”/Otherworld New Years gift.

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My time with my Beloveds lately has been just quietly hanging out and doing fiber arts together. The Dreamer knits fancy lace socks, which awes me because I can’t even knit a basic sock that doesn’t turn out like a slipper. So most evening I’ll knit or read, and he’ll sit with me and either knit or paint.

Just hanging out with my Beloveds has been really nice.

I’ve been spending time with a new pop culture deity. I should write about that on my pop culture stuff blog, even if we are just playing video games together.

Publication: “A Time of Loneliness” in Horror Tree

Publication news from my writing blog!

Official Site of Varian Ross

The park bench was abandoned even before the plague.  Then, when the zombies walked with flowers in their hair and fallen leaves trailing after them like so many lost puppies—the sense of emptiness grew.

Every day, Sharon would come and watch the newly risen dead walk.  They would hang around the bench she sat on like flies around rotting meat. 

“A Time of Loneliness,” by Varian Ross

My short zombie story is now published in Horror Tree’s Trembling with Fear series! I wrote this back in 2014, and it finally found a home. The inspiration for this story was a picture of an abandoned park bench, and the artist zombie character sprang to life from there.

Stephanie Ellis, the editor of Trembling With Fear, describes it as “one of the most beautiful and touching zombie stories I have ever read. This tale brings back the humanity to those often thought…

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Romancing et cetera

I’m not good at romance. My husband and I are married for tax benefits. He is committed to me and I to him, so it was always just about the convenient social title of husband/wife and the tax break. We were never going to have a wedding. It didn’t appeal to us at all. When […]

Romancing et cetera

My own relationships flow between romantic and platonic. This os a great post that I really relate to.

Unspeakable Things

CW mild sexual content

You are the
unspeakable thing
that I want 

to hold
in my arms.

And who cares
if they whisper
or gossip.

I want you.
Wrapped around me.
Deep inside me.

Holding me close against
the ugliness of human words.

Together we can be
unspeakable things;
and I can be the one

that you ruined
for all mortal touch.

This was originally a Patreon post [link], but the Madman thought it would fit on this blog as well. Thanks for the inspiration, Beloved.