Friday, November 21, 2014

Commercials for cancer treatment?

Why have we reached a point where cancer is so common, treatment centers need to advertise? Not just Cancer Treatment Centers of America. I've seen others. In spite of all the research and funding and "awareness," why has cancer become so prevalent the treatment of it needs commercials?

Something is wrong. Gives some credence to the theory that there's a conspiracy to keep people sick to sell more medical treatments.

Why do we seem to have so much cancer nowadays in the first place? Is it really because we're just better at diagnosing it, or is it because our food and air are so full of pollutants and carcinogens that it really is on the rise?

[Edit:] Industrial pollution is downplayed these days as no big deal, but it still is. Various carcinogens and toxic substances are everywhere, even if you don't live near a factory. It's in the water, the air, the soil, our food. Our world is full of toxins. Chemical processes in food manufacturing, storage and treatment contribute to it. All the chemicals that make up our everyday life, and the ones that are byproducts that contaminate the air, soil, food, and water, accumulate in us over a lifetime. Of course it affects us.

To cut to the root of the problem, we'd have to get rid of all the plastics that touch our foods. All the pollutants and chemicals in the ground and the air. All the genetic modification. All the chemical processing that goes into our food supply that's not revealed in the nutrition facts. Cut back on the use of unnatural products and processes in general.

Good luck with that. Too much money to be made from all sides. Our modern society sustains our way of life, even as it kills us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New story: The Cable

After a long wait, it's finally coming out. Abandoned Places, edited by Tarl Hoch. My story is...

The Cable
By James L. Steele

The rat's eyes had always been open, but until right now he had never seen a thing. There was a light hanging over him, bright white, but also streaked and speckled with red. The rat blinked. He became aware of his arms and legs. Something digging under his fur and into the skin beneath. It smelled... The rat instinctually took sharp breaths through his nose. The straps holding him down smelled organic, like they were once alive but now were not. In a room full of sterile plastic, metal and brick, their scent stood out.

He tried to lift his left arm. It was held down tight and remained firmly pressed to the padded table. He raised his right arm. It was free to move. He raised his arm over his head and looked at it. Short, brown fur. Long claws tipping long, bony fingers. His arm was all bone and fur.

The rat raised his head slightly. It was free to move and he sat up as far as he could. The light was in his eyes no matter which way he turned. He held his hand up to block the glare and tried to look around, but the light was so intense he couldn't see anything beyond the table.

He had an impulse to reach out towards the light. The rat reached into the beam. His claws collided with glass, making a light chink sound. At first he didn't know why he was doing this, but quickly something occurred to him. Something he knew unconsciously. He groped the light fixture, felt around it, fingers moving from a hot glass surface to a cool plastic one. Eventually he felt something he recognized. He twisted the piece of plastic.

The light shut off. The room dimmed, lit only by the softer overhead lights. He blinked the spots from his vision. It took a few minutes for his eyes to calm down. Finally he was able to look around him and confirm with his eyes what his nose and sense of touch had already told him.

He was strapped to a padded table in a very sterile room. The wall ahead of him was stone, painted white. The ceiling was metal. He looked down at the floor. It was tile, covered in blood. The rat looked side to side. The walls on either side of him were also crimson, but the blood was dry and cracking.

He leaned forward more, trying to sit up. Something tugged the back of his head, resisting him. The rat reached behind his skull and felt it. A piece of plastic was firmly attached to it. The rat felt it all the way around, but he couldn't identify it. The thing was long, flat and joined to a long cord extending backwards beyond his reach.

Suddenly his ears woke up. He became aware of the regular beeping coming from behind him. The rat's ears swiveled in the direction of the sound, then his head turned with them.

Out the corner of his eye the rat saw a terminal. On the screen were lines moving from left to right. The beeping coming from the machine matched one of the lines. This line matched the beating in his ears.

The rat felt agitated. The beeping sped up to match. The rat turned around, reached over and pulled at the strap holding his other arm down. It was so tight he could not work his fingers underneath. The beeping sped up as the rat became frantic, trying to pull the strap off, trying to free his arm. His legs kicked, but they too were held down.

Another impulse kicked in. He leaned forward. The cord attached to his head tugged him backwards, trying to retract, but the rat resisted and forced his head forward. He opened his muzzle and gnawed on the strap. This felt quite natural. Satisfying in a way. He bit and chewed the strap, tearing fur out of his arm--the mechanical beeping sped up as he panicked and gnawed and thrashed.


Abandoned Places on sale now!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Second Author's Cycle

Yup, I am definitely between projects, and the boredom and depression and feelings of hopelessness have caught up to me. Don't want to deal with shit. Don't want to read. Can't think of anything to write. Don't want to play games.

This must mean I've exhausted my writing energy. I am reading, but man... Without a project, I am an emotional wreak.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Author's Stats

It's hard to accept I've been doing this for 12 years, and I'm only just getting started. It took this long to become confident in myself as a writer. Now I must begin to build confidence as a published author.

These statistics include just about everything I've written since I got serious about the craft in 2002, plus some things I did before that year.

poems: ~6

Screenplays (completed): 5

Screenplays (unfinished): 2

stage plays: 1

Short stories (completed and abandoned, flash fiction included): ~93

Novellas: 2

Novels (unfinished or abandoned): 2

Novels (completed): 9