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Through the Darkness

Rapture Postponed

by Cypher Lx on 05/21/11

21 May 2011

1906hrs

Rapture Postponed Indefinitely, Officials Say

The Rapture scheduled for today has been postponed indefinitely due to low attendance.  Widely advertised, it was expected that more people would clamouring to receive first row seats to this event.  That turned out not to be the case.  Officials stated earlier today that they would have to postpone the event until they could generate more interest.  One of these officials, who asked not to be identified, stated, "We thought attendance would be higher.  We spent a great deal of money advertising on billboards and other media outlets.  It just didn't seem to pan out the way we expected."  He also stated that until more revenue could be acquired, advertising would be suspended for quite some time.  "All of the money we had went into it.  Now we're broke. We do accept donations to our cause, however," he continued.  Was it the fact that the advertising came out too close to the Rapture date?  Or was the public just disinterested in general?  This story will be updated when a new Rapture date is issued.  Until then, don't drink the Kool-Aid.

So what is it about these 'end of times' types that make them think they can calculate an exact date?  They claim it comes from the Bible.  Yet, I have read the Bible.  I even use it for research, among other religious texts. (Very valuable sources when you have strong religious elements in your fiction.)  I have yet to come across a single notation that states there is a specific date that the world will end.  It just seems that too many of these folks are ready to just give up on life and die.  Yeah, bad stuff happens.  That's what makes life interesting.  If everything was all roses and rainbows, we would cease to appreciate it because there would be nothing to compare it to.  We would get bored rather quickly.  It's human nature.  We create conflict to enjoy the peaceful times.  And the Rapture?  It's a very recent addition to Christianity.  If these people had actually read the Bible as they claim, they would see the different passages that say that only the Creator will know the date.  Guess what?  It's supposed to be a surprise.  And who said God doesn't have a sense of humor?

Cypher

Sword Wielding Zombies!

by Cypher Lx on 05/20/11

20 May 2011

1502hrs

In my house, we have a zombie preparedness plan.  And really, who doesn't?  Okay.  Maybe a lot of people don't.  But they should.  Even the CDC thinks so.  One of my co-workers said that they probably put out that announcement due to what happened to them in The Walking Dead.  Possibly.  Regardless, it's good to have one as it provides preparedness for a multitude of disasters.  So, since we have one, I thought we were prepared for any kind of zombie attack.  But sword wielding zombies?!?!?  Nope.  Not prepared for that.  Have I completely lost my mind?  Not completely.  Not yet.  I didn't think it could happen either, but I was wrong.

I sleep during the day because I work at night.  Yesterday, I had fallen asleep on the couch and my husband had left for work.  I kept hearing this annoying metallic clanging sound.  When I am sleeping, I tend to incorporate sounds into my dreams.  At first I thought it was my alarm going off and hit the buttons on my cell phone to quiet it, eyes still closed.  The sound wouldn't go away.  I thought, "Wow.  That's really annoying."  As my brain started shifting into a more awake state, I realized that it sounded an awful lot like one of the swords we have hanging on the wall.  When my husband and I were married, we both had swords which are now hanging with our wedding photo in between.  I finally opened my eyes in that direction just as the sword launched off the wall with the point going through the baby gate that separates the living room from the kitchen.  The dog does not have free reign of the house because she chews everything, hence the gate keeping her in the kitchen.  Sionnaigh has to be supervised when she is in the common area.  Immediately after the sword crashed to the floor, Zombie jumped from his place just beneath its previous position, across the kitchen doorway, to observe the damage.  Zombie is the newest addition to our crazy household.  We adopted him as a kitten last November and he has been making trouble ever since.  He's an absolutely adorable Russian Blue with a crooked tail that forms a 'Z' at the end.  These cats are described to be "highly intelligent and playful."  And it is so true.  You can see the wheels turning when you look at his serious eyes.  I placed the sword back on the wall and then texted my husband with the message, "I think Zombie is trying to kill Sionnaigh with a sword."  He immediately called me back.

I write fiction.  But sometimes my real life has moments that even I couldn't imagine.  Sword wielding zombies?  Who would have thought?

Cypher

My Adventures in Dance

by Cypher Lx on 05/19/11

19 May 2011

1900hrs

Anyone who knows me is aware of my inherent lack of coordination.  And yet, I decided to take up Egyptian bellydancing.  I've been going to classes for about 18 weeks now and, what started as research for my writing became a wonderful stress reliever and a nice way to exercise.  For anyone who has read Darkest Before Dawn, you already know that one of my characters indulges in a different form of bellydance called tribal fusion.  Because I didn't really know much about bellydance in general, I didn't go into any great detail about it.  I only knew what I had seen in videos and had no clue about what it really took to perform such an elegant form of expression with the body.  I also had no idea that I would be incorporating even more of it into The Cold of Night.  It's funny how characters develop.  This particular character utilizes her dancing skill into other things that she does.  So, of course, I needed to learn more. 

For the first sixteen weeks, I was in a beginner class.  I quickly learned that there are muscles in my body that I rarely use and that coordination is a very important aspect.  Here I am, Miss Lack-of-Coordination, trying to make my body move in ways that seem alien.  Quite often, I feel like the most ungraceful person in the world.  Maybe it's because it's a very feminine dance and I have always been a tomboy.  Who knows?  But the real kicker was when then next beginner session started and only two of us were signed up for the class.  Amala decided to move us to her intermediate class since we had spent so much time learning the basics.  Last night was my first time in that class.  Wow.  It was like learning the basics of a foreign language and then being dropped off in the middle of the country that spoke that language.  Veils?  You mean I have to learn how to use a prop while dancing?  I nearly strangled myself when the veil somehow got wrapped around my head.  Things did get better toward the end of class and I survived without too much incident.  Then came the Saidi specialty class right afterward.  I signed up for this fully aware that I would be dancing with a stick.  But when I had heard that it was kind of like mock combat in dance form, I couldn't refuse.  After all, I had done mock combat throughout the years for different reasons.  How hard could it be?  The real questions should have been:  How many times am I going to clobber myself with the stick?  How many times am I going to drop the stick?  Apparently, there is a lot more involved than just pretending to fight with a stick.  I'm lucky I didn't break something or injure one of the other students. 

You may be asking yourself if I'm going to quit now that I have done my research.  Absolutely not.  Despite my serious lack of skills in the area of dance, I'm going to stick with it (no pun intended).  I can only get better at it, not worse.  And really, even if I never get any good at it, it's still a lot of fun.  What started off as research has become something that I truly enjoy doing.  Even if I do come out of it with a bruise or two.

Cypher

Graduation and Mohegan Sun

by Cypher Lx on 05/16/11

16 May 2011

1227hrs

So, I've been a little lax in writing my blog.  It's not because I just haven't felt like it or didn't have anything to say.  Far from it.  The fact is, I have been so incredibly busy the past couple of days that I just haven't had the time.  Thursday I suffered the unbearable wait for my grades to come rolling in.  Despite my academic diligence, I was very concerned about one of my grades.  Neuroscience could have kept me from graduating.  Fortunately, it all worked out.  That night I had graduation rehearsal followed by a bit of celebration and stress relief with other graduates.  Friday, I slept.  A lot.  I think it was the first time I slept more than four hours in one shot.  It was so refreshing that I'm considering trying it more often.  Saturday morning I graduated.  I can't possibly convey the immense weight that I felt being lifted off of me when I finally received that simple piece of paper stating that I now have a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.  After the ceremony and all of the photo ops, I went to lunch with my family.  While there, I received a text saying that there would be an impromptu photo shoot.  What good fortune!  I was already dressed for it.  To backpedal a bit, there was supposed to be an Asian themed shoot that I was scheduled to do later that day, but the photographer had a car accident the day before and it was cancelled.  Fortunately, she was okay, but her car didn't survive.  So this new shoot was totally unexpected.  After that, I went home and changed.  My husband and I went to a local Goth venue, but it turned out to be a bit of a wash since no one we knew was there.  We ended up going to a local Hookah Lounge.  If you happen to live in the Allentown area, check out Gardenia.  The atmosphere is wonderful and the food is great.  My belly dance instructor performs there on the weekends, as well.

Sunday was spent at the Mohegan Sun Casino.  While I am not really much of a gambler, it was part of my graduation present from my parents.  If you are unfamiliar with casinos, you must be 21 to be on the floor (any place where there are slot machines or gaming tables).  I am well over 21.  However, the employees there didn't seem to think so.  I was carded the moment I stepped off the bus and then nearly every single time I moved from slot areas to table areas.  While it is flattering, it begins to become annoying when it happens ten times in one day.  All in all, it turned out to be a good day.  My husband decided to try his hand at Roulette and won a few times.  We bought some wine and gourmet cheese which essentially ended up being free because he had won the same amount back.  I think we came back with just about the same amount of money we went up with.

Now, with all the hectic things out of the way and no more school work, I have more time to write.

Cypher

Anxiety

by Cypher Lx on 05/09/11

09 May 2011

1234hrs

My next two days will be filled with anxiety ridden studying and test taking.  I have a Biology final, which I am not overly concerned about since I've done well throughout the semester.  However, it's my Neuroscience final that I am truly worried about.  Unlike other finals that I have taken, this one is cumulative.  Things that I didn't get before will be on this exam.  My graduation hinges on this one little thing.  As a psychology major, I am required to take Neuroscience.  It's probably the hardest subject I have ever taken aside from Chemistry (which I dropped). Why would I torture myself with something like this if I already have a job and do so many other things?  Because I am a glutton for punishment? Quite possibly.  After all, who would suffer through all of the anxiety when they have a relatively stable life?  The truth of the matter is that I really like psychology.  I love studying the human mind.  Unfortunately, Neuroscience is a part of it.  I have been told and have read in a number of places that you should write what you know and have the credibility to back it up.  I write about some law enforcement situations.  Between my husband and I, we have the combined experience to come up with a plausible scenerio.  My writings also have a good amount of psychological theory behind them. Yes, anyone can include that in a novel.  But who makes it more believable?  The person who writes about it who has no experience or scientific knowledge of the subject?  Or the person who spends years going through countless classes and doing extracurricular research in their spare time?  I have read a large number of novels that cover certain psychological conditions and have found some of them to be lacking.  Some people still don't know the difference between schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder and use the terms interchangeably.  While this may make interesting reading for those who also don't know the difference, I find it distracting.  I want to make my fiction as believable as possible while still pushing the boundaries between fantasy and reality.  So I torture myself by inflicting a different psychological condition on my own psyche. Anxiety.  Will it be worth it in the end?  I hope so.

Cypher

Sociopathic and Psychopathic Writers

by Cypher Lx on 05/08/11

08 May 2011

1951hrs

What separates a writer from a sociopath? What separates a writer from a psychopath?  When you write the types of stories that I do, you tend to wonder about your own sanity at times.  Quite often, when I have nothing more important to think about, I devise the perfect murder or think of ways to psychologically torture my characters.  Each time I come up with a new method of cruelty it makes me happy.  Literally, it brings a smile to my face.  Thankfully, most of the time I am alone and don't have to explain myself.  How many normal people would really understand that you fantasize about killing off certain characters?  If you have the chance, you find something to write on and scribble your ideas down furiously before they escape your mind.  If you don't have that opportunity, you think about it incessantly until you can get to your laptop or notebook.  Honestly, it gets to the point of obsession.

So what separates us from the real thing? Not a whole lot if you think about it.  We obsess.  We plot. We carry out the deed with morbid satisfaction.  We create certain characters with attributes of those that anger us in life so that we can brutally murder them in fiction.  The difference?  The ability to let go of our frustrations through the writing process.  I don't feel remorse for killing off characters that I feel deserve their demise.  I do, however, feel remorse for attempting to kill a character that really did nothing wrong.  For example, in Salt Bowl Death, one of my main characters was going to die before the end of the novel.  As I wrote, I found that I just didn't have the heart to do it.  The character evolved into a person that just didn't deserve the death I was going to write in. I became too attached.  And yet, there were other characters who were innocent that I sent to meet a gruesome end.  I didn't feel bad about it either.  Why?  Because despite the fact that they had done nothing wrong, I didn't give them anything I could truly identify with.  They were merely colateral damage to drive the plot.

Another major difference?  Writers, at least none that I have met, have ever killed someone in real life.  We do feel remorse for hurting real people.  Sometimes we'll write about that, too.  Writing is probably what keeps us psychologically healthy.  Some people participate in competitive sports.  Some people do hard labor to air out their frustrations.

Writers write.

Cypher

English

by Cypher Lx on 05/07/11

07 May 2011

1547hrs

My husband and I were talking about strip clubs today and it sparked an interesting thought in my head.  English is probably the most difficult language to learn for someone who comes to this country not knowing a single word.  Come to think of it, it's probably extremely difficult even for those that thought they knew English before they came here.  I should actually say "American English" since not even someone from England would understand some of the so-called dialects that are spoken in our country.

You're probably asking yourself how a conversation about strip clubs would bring this about.  In some convoluted way, it makes perfect sense.  Why would my husband and I be talking about strip clubs?  The answer is quite simple.  I don't mind if he patronizes such clubs.  In fact, I have gone with him on occasion.  Last night, he didn't come home right after work and he didn't call either.  I woke up late for work and noticed that he wasn't home. I immediately called him to find out where he was.  Despite my lateness for my own job, I was concerned that something had happened to him.  He was fine.  He was out with a co-worker.  They were joking around that "No, honey. They weren't at a strip club." I wasn't in the mood for games and was a bit snippy with him as I rushed out the door.  I didn't care WHERE he was, just that he hadn't called to tell me he wouldn't be home right away.  As it turned out, he wasn't at a strip club, but it started the conversation of why he really doesn't like going to them anymore.  Apparently, there aren't as many around here as there used to be and the ones that are left have gone "ghetto".  Not quite knowing what this meant, he explained.  The one nearest our home started of as a pretty classy place.  The girls were pretty and some were working their way through college.  They were polite and had good personalities.  As so many of these clubs, this one fell under new management.  That meant a change of name, change of dancers, and change of clientele.  He said that it was no longer enjoyable for him to go.  One of the reasons? A dancer had a tramp stamp that expressed a certain ghetto phrase that I don't feel comfortable even typing here, because if you don't know what it means (and I didn't), it could sound offensive.  Especially coming from a little white girl like me.  I did look it up online and apparently it means something to the effect of "don't embarrass yourself."

So, that got me to thinking.  How many other strange phrases do we use in this country that we don't even understand fully ourselves?  If someone like me who is relatively well educated can't understand what is being said by other people who live in my area, how are we to expect people from other countries to understand us?  Granted, other languages have their own quirky phrases, but they are generally understood by those citizens as a whole.  How can we expect someone to learn a language that we don't even understand completely.  Our version of English has become so bastardized that most of today's children can't even recognize a well-written book.  They don't understand it because they have no desire to learn what proper English really is.  Honestly, it kind of makes me want to move to England.  Yes, they have their own slang.  But at least I understand it.

Cypher

Stop Signs

by Cypher Lx on 05/06/11

06 May 2011

0936hrs

News flash! Stop signs are not optional!

This may come as a surprise to some people.  Obviously, there are those who believe they are, otherwise they wouldn't just drive right through them without a second thought.  I am a campus police officer and I see this all the time.  When I am at work, I can do something about it. On my way home, it's a different story.  My husband is a police officer and sees it all the time as well.  He used to work for a different college and pulled a student over for going through a stop sign.  This college educated twenty-something actually told him that he thought the ones with the white lines were optional.  This morning a woman nearly collided with me because she ran the stop sign and I didn't have one.  I watched in disbelief as she cursed at me for being in her way.

So here is the lesson for the day:

If you see a red octagonal sign with white lettering that says STOP, this means you should apply the break (that's the big pedal in the middle) until your vehicle comes to a complete halt and look in all directions before proceeding. It doesn't matter if you are at an all-way stop either, because if you don't stop at a stop sign, chances are that some other idiot isn't going to stop either.  This is not only expensive, but dangerous.  After having done a little research, I found that MOST countries have the same shape and color of stop sign with STOP written in their home language.  Japan is the odd exception (red upside-down triangle with white outline). So saying you are from a different country is not a valid excuse. They all look the same. And yes, I have heard that excuse before. For the safety of yourself and others, please reread the rules of the road if you are unsure. If you can't understand motor vehicle law, DON'T DRIVE.

This has been a public service announcement.

Thank you.

Cypher

A Day in the Life

by Cypher Lx on 05/05/11

05 May 2011

1503hrs

It's times like these that I want to be able to write something interesting for people to read and I find myself stuck, unable to think of a single event that occurred that could be written about.  A lot of people have the misconception that if a person is a writer they constantly have ideas flowing through their heads.  While this may be partially true, a great many of those things are mundane.  What am I hungry for? What bills have to be paid? Do all the animals have food and water? Why isn't there enough time in the day to do all of the things I have to do?  These are just a few of the things I think about when characters aren't screaming for me to make their voices heard.  Then, of course, there is the opinion that models, mainstream or alternative, must have something interesting happen to them on a daily basis.  After all, models are inherently interesting people.  The truth is, most of the time my life is incredibly boring and normal.  I have a regular full-time job.  I live in an old house in constant need of repair, stuck in the middle of two major towns.  In fact, despite how busy I am all of the time, I am really just like everyone else. Perhaps a bit more eccentric than most.  But I live a typical life most of the time.  And then there are times like these when I can't think of anything fun to write about.  Maybe when school is finally over, I will have a chance to do more and have something to write about.  I really want to work on my fiction writing, but I have to concentrate on studying for my finals. Graduation is my main goal right now.  Until then, I hope that if you have purchased one of my current books that you enjoy reading it.  For those that haven't, I have lowered the price of the eBooks for a limited time.  So if you were thinking about buying them, now is the time to do it. Happy reading!

Cypher

Countdown to Freedom

by Cypher Lx on 05/03/11

03 May 2011

1645hrs

I have officially finished all of my schoolwork for the semester!  I still have three classes to attend, but no work to do for them.  The rest is just study time for Biology and Neuroscience.  Those finals are next week.  Then, I graduate.  Finally.  After that, I will be taking a break for a few days before diving back into writing.  I really miss being able to write what I want.  Something other than term papers and homework assignments.  I will be free.  I will have much more time available to write, do more modeling shoots, and go on more photography jaunts.  I truly miss doing all of those things.  They are my creative outlets.  I miss it so much, that I'll actually be doing a shoot right after graduation. Literally.  I will also have more time to update the website to include prints for purchase, which I know I have been promising.  By the beginning of June, I should have at least a few up.  Look for them then.

Cypher

Today's Breaking News

by Cypher Lx on 05/02/11

02 May 2011

0806hrs

My news for today has nothing to do with what project I'm working on or any other writing project.  It has nothing to do with the goofy things that happen in my life or being swamped with schoolwork before graduation (which I should be working on right now).  No, this is an event that effects so many more people than just the handful that read this blog.  The first thing I do when I wake up on my days off is get online to see what's going on in the world.  My home page is currently Yahoo! so I can check my emails first.  Imagine my surprise in my bleary eyed state of wakefulness when I read the headline that "Osama bin Laden is Dead".  Or maybe you don't have to imagine it.  Maybe you experienced this youself.  My first thought was that maybe I was just having some sort of crazy dream.  It's not often I have dreams about real life events, but it happens.  The second thing I did was text my husband with those five simple, yet weight carrying words. It just hasn't quite set in yet.  I have mixed feelings on this.  Don't get me wrong.  I think that it's about time we're rid of bin Laden.  What I'm wondering is, how is this going to affect the country?  Are things going to get better or worse?  I'm not always a glass-half-full kind of girl.  Things like this kind of set me on edge and I wait for the next shoe to drop.  I'm hopeful that with him gone, the structure of his regime had fallen into disarray.  However, I'm not naive enough to think that he didn't have some competent people under him who could take over in the event of his death.  These are just my thoughts.  Take them as you will.  I hope this is the end.  But I won't be stupid enough to not be aware.

Cypher

Injustice

by Cypher Lx on 05/01/11

01 May 2011

1414hrs

I heard this story a couple of days ago and it really got under my skin.  A respected English teacher from Central Pennsylvania has been ridiculed for her other occupation that she kept private.  It's not that she had a second mode of income that got her into trouble, but the type of work that she does.  I imagine that a boatload of unsavory things are running through peoples' minds as they read this.  It wasn't any of those things, unless you consider writing romance novels to be unsavory. The real shame of it is that she made every effort to keep that part of her life separate from her teaching career.  She used a pen name and never discussed it with her students.  She never brought her material to school or wrote during her work hours.  But someone, somehow, found out about her second career after a lot of digging around.   Then a local TV station ran with the story.  This caused an uproar with the parents of the students at the school.  Some even went so far as to accuse her of being a pedophile.  If this news had not been publicized, her students would never have known what she did in her private life which, by the way, is not anything to be ashamed of.  She followed a passion to write and even without divulging information about what she wrote, inspired her students to have a passion for writing as well.  I praise her for following her dreams, being an inspiration to young adults, and for using extreme discretion where others apparently couldn't keep their mouths shut.  Follow the link below to show your support for this wonderful woman on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/SupportJudyMays

Cypher

The Time Space Continuum

by Cypher Lx on 04/30/11

30 April 2011

1759hrs

My house suffers from an invisible and mobile tear in the fabric of time and space.  It sounds unbelievable, but it's true.  For example, no matter how early I start getting ready for something, whether it is school, work, or just to go do something enjoyable, I can't seem to get out of the house on time.  On the days that I go through the same routine over and over, but do it several minutes earlier than usual, it's as if my house rebels and skips time just to make sure I leave at the same time as those days when I am running late.  When I am not serving my normal routine, my house suddenly develops a vortex that will suck up something that I am looking for, like an article of clothing or a shoe.  Yes, that's right. Just one shoe out of a pair.  Later, I will find what I am looking for when I don't need it.  In the exact place I was looking when I did need it.

Currently, I am looking for something that I need to take to work with me. I know where I saw it and have seen it there on several occasions.  Now I actually need it.  Do you think I can find it? Of course not.

Cypher

Giveaways and Other News

by Cypher Lx on 04/29/11

29 April 2011

1454hrs

First I'll start with the other news.  I found out that my interview on Indie eBooks is the number one viewed book on the site!  Thanks to everyone who stopped in to take a peek!

Second bit of other news is that I posted a short story on Goodreads that is absolutely free to view.  It's entitled Nightmare at Sea. You can view it here:  http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/267604-nightmare-at-sea

And now for the Giveaway part.  I have placed two copies of each of my books up for a Giveaway Contest on Goodreads.  Winners are chosen randomly.  You can follow the two links below.

      http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/10258-salt-bowl-death  

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/10257-darkest-before-dawn

Good Luck!

Cypher

Online Interview

by Cypher Lx on 04/28/11

28 April 2011

0918hrs

This morning I received an email that an online interview with me was posted on the Indie eBooks website for Salt Bowl Death.  Stop by to check it out as well as the other self-published authors they support.

http://indieebooks.blogspot.com/2011/04/salt-bowl-death-by-cypher-lx.html

Cypher

17 Days

by Cypher Lx on 04/27/11

27 April 2011

2040hrs

Seventeen days.  It seems like such a long time, but really, it isn't.  In seventeen days I will have had to finish a term paper, a journal, a take home essay exam, a powerpoint presentation on bioethics, two homework assignments and two in class final exams.  At the end of fourteen days, I will know positively that I can graduate.  In seventeen days, I will (hopefully) be walking up to the stage to receive my degree in Forensic Psychology.  It all seems like so much to be packing into a little over two weeks.  Technically, most of the work is packed into less than a week.  It's very overwhelming.  The light at the end of my tunnel is that I will be able to work more on my novels after May 14th.  They are my escape.  My vacations I take in my mind when I can't take a real vacation from my job.  I just hope that I am sane enough at the end of the seventeen days to enjoy what I am looking forward to the most.

Cypher

New Formats Available

by Cypher Lx on 04/26/11

26 April 2011

1609hrs

There are now new links on the Book page for the different digital formats available.  For those of you who are members of Goodreads, you can now download it as a part of your reading list.  If you are not a member of Goodreads, but love to read as much as I do, I highly recommend the site.  It's kind of like social networking for bookworms.  You get to review books that you have read and talk to other people who have the same literary interests.

Cypher

New Digital Formats

by Cypher Lx on 04/25/11

25 April 2011

0911hrs

In order to make my books more accessible, I am in the process of converting the files to Smashwords.  Not everyone has the Kindle or Nook and I have come to realize that many people either read books on their laptops or iPad devices.  The conversion process will make Salt Bowl Death and Darkest Before Dawn available on the Apple iBookstore, the Sony Reader, Kobo, Stanza, Aldiko, Palm Pilots, and PDF formats for downloading to your computer.  The prices will be the same as they are listed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for the digital versions.  As always, the print versions are also availble for purchase.

Happy Reading!

Cypher Lx

Term Paper Madness

by Cypher Lx on 04/24/11

24 April 2011

1135hrs

So...it's Easter Sunday and I am sitting on my couch contemplating my Death & Dying term paper which is solely based on zombies and vampires.  I find it slightly ironic, really.  I haven't totally lost my mind.  Not yet, anyway.  While it might sound strange as a whole, allow me to break it down into a more logical concept.  Let's start with the fact that I am take a Death & Dying class.  People seem to get a little weirded out by the title of the class.  It's a religious studies course that fulfills a requirement I need to graduate.  Why did I choose it?  Two reasons.  The first is that I found the topic fascinating.  The second is that I fall under the old curriculum and it was the only class offered that fit what I needed.  We have discussed attitudes about death spanning history and religious convictions.  Which cultures are accepting of death and which deny it.  A range of emotions are covered (even humour) and it can sometimes become a bit morbid if you are not accustomed to speaking openly about death.  Fortunately, I have no problem with that particular area.  Death is often a subject in my fictional writing as well as the emotional  and psychological rollercoaster that goes along with it. 

Now we come to the topic of my final term paper.  Why zombies and vampires?  Let's first examine American attitudes on death.  Before the major industrialization of the United States, death was a normal part of life.  Many children died from diseases that we have cures for now.  Many young men died horrible deaths during the Civil War.  A large percentage of family portraits that were taken with the early forms of photography were done because a member of the family had died and they wanted to keep the memory of that person.  These were called Memento Mori. Most families could not afford portraits, so this was something very special to them.  Victorians used to spend leisurely Sunday afternoons in cemeteries having picnics atop their deceased relatives' graves.  Good luck finding that type of thing today.  People in modern society have placed a sort of taboo on having any kind of enjoyable time in graveyards.  Nowadays, there is this almost palpable fear of death.  We don't want to believe that we will die and deny the very thought of it by avoiding the very things that represent death.  Except when we read stories or watch movies about zombies and vampires.  Why is that?  I have my theories.  Because of our detachment from death, we are fascinated and terrified by the prospect that there could be a worse fate than dying.

Zombies, no matter how they are created, are the epitome of the fear of death.  Not only have you died, but you come back from death into an existence of a mindless lack of individuality.  And really, isn't the loss of who you are even worse than death?  This covers the voodoo-style zombies as well as the more recent flesh-eating variety.  The former makes you the slave of some malevolent master while the latter makes you a slave to the most basic animal condition, the hunger drive.

Vampires are yet another form of creature spawned from death.  Soulless creatures that wander the night in search of sustenance through human blood.  Hmm...something is beginning to sound familiar here.  Ah yes, back to the basest animal instinct.  The drive of hunger.  The only real difference is that vampires tend to hold on to some of who they were before.

Now here is the major difference.  Zombies, no matter what, are considered to be horrible undead creatures that need to be put down.  Usually, by way of massive head trauma.  We fear them and we don't want to become one, therefore have no problem killing them.  Those that hesitate (because "That used to be Grandma!") are the first to succumb to being lunch.  After that, no one second guesses themselves.  Grandma will eat your brain regardless of whether you were her favorite or not.  Vampires, on the other hand, have been romanticized so much over recent years that the thought of feeding off of humans seems a small price to pay for immortality.  Who cares that you died to get there.  You can still have fun and live forever doing it.  Well, guess what?  Vampires aren't truly immortal.  There is always a way to kill them.  Yeah, it may be harder to do, but it could still happen.  Zombies will never reach the romantic status of vampires.  They're just too, well, rotten.  But vampires have transformed into something that has become more palatable when it comes to death.  The truth of it all is that, no matter how much we wish to deny death and grasp onto the idea of immortality, even the undead have to face final death in the end.

Cypher Lx

The Beginning of a New Adventure

by Cypher Lx on 04/23/11

23 April 2011

I have officially started my blog!  If you have visited my site before and are wondering why I haven't done this yet (or posted photography in that section), it is due to my hectic schedule with school.  I am quickly approaching graduation and have a lot on my mind.  Too many papers to write, too much studying to do.  Not enough time in the day to do all that plus write what I want and still get some sleep.  However, after mid-May, I will be working diligently on The Cold of Night and my other works.  I will also make the attempt to stop in each day to say just a little something, even if it's just a few sentences.  I have added more links, so please check them out.  You can follow me on Twitter now using the name CypherLx (no space) and Salt Bowl Death and Darkest Before Dawn on Facebook.  I also have a personal profile on Facebook where all of my modeling photos can be seen.  So please, look around and enjoy.

Cypher Lx