All posts by Ater Imber

Ater Imber became interested in writing fan fiction in 2013 after being talked into giving the Deviant Art website a chance. Ater began posting to the delight of Supernatural fans and continues to write new fan and non-fan fiction stories with regularity for an eager personal following. Ater also currently has four novellas available for purchase. 'First Try' is Aters’ debut, non-fan fiction novella, and is the newest released. It’s a collection of short stories Ater wrote during school after getting serious about becoming a writer, book-ended by the two ‘long’ first stories Ater ever wrote, published November, 2018. Ater’s third fan fiction novella, 'Holiday Treats', is about the holidays, forbidden love, and what can go wrong when the two collide, published in December 2016. Ater’s debut fan fiction novella, 'Don’t Get Caught', is a collection of short stories centered around a love theme, published in February 2016. Last, but certainly not least, Ater’s second fanfiction novella, 'Melting Hearts, Sunburns and Tanlines' is a collection of short stories with a main theme surrounding going on vacation and love, published in August, 2016. All three of Ater's fanfiction novellas are based on the T.V. series Supernatural. If you’d like to check out Ater’s books, you can do so here: http://aterimber.com/writing/books/ Ater Imber lives in Toronto, Canada.

What Non-Vegan Ingredients Are Lurking In Non-Foods?





Warning: This article includes pictures that may be considered graphic/disturbing. If you find any of the below images hard to look at, perhaps you should ask yourself if you’re really okay with continuing to fund the cruel practices that result in the below images.

Yep, it’s true – we humans put animal pieces/bits/by-products in all kinds of things that have nothing to do with food!

If you’re shocked, well don’t feel too bad – it’s not exactly like companies put ‘insect exoskeleton’ or ‘sheep fat’ on the label. They disguise these animal by-products by giving them a different name, so that they can sneak them under the radar.

This is why veganism is so much more than a diet, it truly is a lifestyle change. If you’re committed to reducing your harm to animals, then read through the list below to discover some of the most common animal by-products that are hiding in non-food items.

Unfortunately, the way society is, it’s literally impossible to be 100% animal product free, that’s why there’s no such thing as a truly 100% vegan – it’s just impossible in today’s world. While it can get overwhelming to see just how many everyday things have animal products in them, I don’t want you to freak out – take things slowly. It can be overwhelming, but don’t fret if you’re unable to cut out using all of the things listed below, it’s not feasible for everyone, and that’s okay. As long as you’re aware, and are consciously trying to reduce your harm, you’re doing enough. So try not beat yourself up too bad.

Alright, let’s start with the most obvious:

 

Leather

If you didn’t know, leather is cow skin. (Or snake, alligator, buffalo, sheep and more) Yep, you read that right, leather products are literally skinned animal. Do you really want to walk around like Michael Myers? (Why do you think his nickname is Leatherface?)

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Suede

Pretty much the same as leather, (made out of animal skin), but suede is ‘fuzzy’. Either way, you’re wearing dead animal.

Fur

Fur can be in many things, including: coats, boots, blankets, etc. If it’s not faux, the fur once belonged to an animal, usually mink, foxes, and raccoon dogs. These poor animals are often de-furred alive, often without the use of anaesthetic, or pain pills. Is it really worth torturing an animal and taking its’ only defence against the cold, when we as humans have so many other options?

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This animal was still alive at the time this picture was taken. If you can’t even look at the above image, or find it disturbing, you shouldn’t be wearing fur. Help prevent the above from happening by shopping for faux, or find other alternatives.

 

Wool

Where do we get wool from? Sheep. We shear the wool off the sheep to use for sweaters, blankets, socks, etc. What’s wrong with wool? Well:

  1. Shearing: Let’s start with the practice everyone knows about. Farmers shear sheep to get their wool. But, often shearing is painful for sheep, and is much more than just a haircut. But wait, don’t sheep need to be sheared? Well, no, not at all. Undomesticated sheep only produce the amount of wool they need to survive, which truthfully isn’t that much. Same as we have genetically bred chickens to be too fat for their legs, humans have genetically modified sheep to overproduce wool that now requires the support of the shearing industry. Their bodies have a hard time supporting the weight, and some risk suffocation because they can’t breathe.

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(Those marks are scars from old cuts, not ribs/bone)

Why are they bred to produce so much wool? Because most shearers are paid per sheep, not an hourly wage. Meaning they need to get the most amount of wool possible from a sheep in a quicker time frame. This also results in carelessness by shearers, and sheep often get injured from the quick paced shearing. Anything from nicks, to amputation of their udders, ears and other body parts can happen.

  1. In Australia (where about half the world’s wool comes from) farmers often practice ‘mulesing’ which is a terribly cruel procedure in which farmers use tools resembling garden shears and carve chunks of skin/flesh from lambs’ backsides in an attempt to prevent a parasitic disease called ‘flystrike’. This practice is commonly performed without painkillers. And why does this happen? Because we’ve bred them to produce as much wool as possible, a sheep’s’ skin has wrinkled, and this wrinkled skin accrues excess moisture, which attracts flies. These flies lay eggs in the folds of the skin, resulting in maggots consuming the sheep’s’ skin.

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  1. What happens once the sheep begin to produce less wool? They get shipped off to a slaughterhouse and sold for meat, just like cows, pigs and other animals. Many are killed by having their throats’ slit while still conscious.

 

Silk

Silk comes from worms. (Or spiders) Yes, they count as animals. (If bees count, so do worms)

You may be wondering: Why does it matter if we take their silk?

Silk is the fiber that silkworms make to make their cocoons. (Similar to a caterpillar) For humans to get the silk, manufacturers’/collectors boil the worms alive while they’re in the cocoon. This prevents the worms from transforming to the next stage of their life cycle (the pupal phase), where they make a hole in the cocoon by releasing enzymes, which often cause the silk fibers of the cocoon to break down, and thus make them unviable for harvesting. Boiling the cocoon not only kills the worm by boiling it alive, but also makes the cocoons easier to unravel. Often times, after being boiled, the worms themselves are eaten as well.

Roughly 10 billion cocoons are required to produce the 70 million pounds of raw silk that are needed yearly.

 

Down

Down is the under-feathers from geese, ducks and other birds. Down is used most often for pillows, winter coats, and comforters. The feathers used for down are often taken via live-plucking. (I.e., the bird isn’t dead when the feathers are taken) You know the feeling of needing to tweeze/accidentally getting an arm hair ripped out? Imagine that pain ten fold, all over your body.

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Beeswax

For those who don’t know, beeswax is a natural wax that honey bees produce. It’s formed by the bees into ‘scales’ by eight wax-producing glands in their abdomen. They then ‘discard’ the wax in or at the hive.

To put it in laymen’s terms, beeswax is essentially bee poop.

It would probably be faster to list products that don’t have beeswax, so to save time, I’ll just list a few examples:

  • Natural food wraps
  • Candles
  • Shoe/furniture polish
  • Surfboard Wax
  • Cutler’s Resin (a glue used in the handles of cutlery knives)
  • Tambourines (often used by percussionists on the surface for ‘thumb rolls’)
  • Oil/Body Paint
  • Soaps
  • Lip balm/gloss
  • Egg decoration (such as Easter egg crayons, dye, etc.)
  • Cream/lotion/moisturizers
  • Make-up (eye shadow, blush, eye-liner, etc.)
  • Moustache wax/hair pomades

It is even an ingredient in surgical bone wax, which is used during surgery to control bleeding from bone surfaces.

As you can see, beeswax is in many different products, and isn’t specific to one group of them. This isn’t saying that all of the variations of these products contain beeswax, just that it’s most likely an ingredient. Always read the label on every product to ensure you know what’s in that particular item.




Now, onto the less obvious animal by-product names:

Carmine

Carmine or Red #40 (or Allura Red AC) is the fancy name they decided to give red food colouring/red dye, perhaps because if they called it what it actually is, crushed cochineal beetles, nobody would buy the products.

Speaking of food dyes:

  • Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue FCF)
  • Blue #2 (Idigotine)
  • Green #3 (Fast Green FCF)
  • Red #3 (Erythrosine)
  • Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)
  • Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow FCF)

All 6 of the dyes listed above are tested on animals. These food dyes are not only used in foods, however – since they’re food-grade safe, they’re often also used in soaps, bath bombs, creams/lotions, and more. Pretty much if a non-food item is dyed a certain colour (and the label doesn’t specifically say it’s vegan), chances are good you’ll find one of the above listed in the ingredients.

If you can’t tell or aren’t sure? Call or e-mail the company to get your answer. In my experience, if a company doesn’t use one of the above, you’ll get a speedy, in-depth reply explaining what they use instead. If they do use one of the above (or other animal ingredients) chances are good they’ll take a while to reply, if at all. If you can’t find the info for the ingredients used on the website, chances are good they’re using an animal-derivative.

My rule since going vegan: if they’re hiding it, they probably shouldn’t be doing it. If I ask a company, and they don’t get back to me, I assume it’s not safe and try to find an alternative.

 

Bone Char

Exactly what it sounds like, the charred/ash remains of animal bones. This stuff is used mainly in the processing of sugar. This is why Oreos (and many other things) aren’t technically vegan in the US, because the sugar used is made with bone char. In Canada, our sugar isn’t processed this way, so Oreos, and other products are vegan. (Check the processing for your own country, as it can vary)

Bone char can also be found in plastic bags.

 

Tallow

Tallow is a rendered for of animal fat, usually from cattle. Tallow and its’ derivatives can be found in all kinds of non-food items, such as: fabric softener, eye makeup, lipsticks, foundations, shampoos, moisturizers, and other skin care products.

 

Castoreum

Does your perfume like vanilla? Then it might contain castoreum, which comes from a beavers’ castor sac – which is a gland between its’ pelvis and the base of it’s tail.

Yep, your sweet, vanilla scented perfumes, lotions and/or candles have the aroma from a beavers’ ass.

 

Polymers

Not all polymers are non-vegan. The polymers used specifically in plastic bags as a ‘slip agent’ (used to reduce friction) is made from animal fats. Companies like Tyson Foods are reportedly experimenting with keratin protein (found in chicken feathers) to be used in new plastic bags, adhesives and non-woven materials.

As if using the remains of animals isn’t bad enough, using plastic bags is also contributing to the destruction of the ocean. Birds and sea turtles often mistake shredded bags for food, and by ingesting these products their stomachs are filled with toxic debris.

It’s also estimated that only about 1% of plastic bags are recycled. This means that for an average family, only 1 in 15 bags are recycled. Couple this with the fact the average amount of plastic bags used a year in Canada is 3 billion (100 billion in the US), and the fact it takes roughly 400 years for plastic bags to break down, you can hopefully start to see the problem.

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Also, while we’re on the subject, just a quick note: most of the pollution found in the ocean is from the fishing industry, specifically, fishing nets.

 

Stearic Acid

Again, not all stearic acid is made from animals. Animal-derived stearic acid is made out of animal fats. This non-vegan stearic acid can be found in many things, but the biggest/most common seems to be tires for bikes, cars, etc. In tires, it’s used to help the rubber hold the shape under friction.

Another uncommon thing animal-derived stearic acid is found in? Fireworks! (This genuinely surprised me.)

It’s used to coat metal powder and is used to prevent oxidation, which allows the fireworks to be stored for longer periods of time.

 

Glycerin

Just like with polymers and stearic acid, glycerine can come from either animal or vegetable fats.

Glycerin is found in many different products, including:

  • Soaps
  • Shampoo and conditioners
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Ointments
  • Cough syrups
  • Perfumes
  • Lotions
  • Shaving cream
  • Inks
  • Glues
  • Anti-freeze and brake fluid

Unless the label on a product specifically lists ‘vegetable glycerin’, it’s best to ask the company, or stay away all together (if that’s an option) if you can’t get a clear idea of the type.

 

Chitin

As explained in my Vegan Sunscreen post, chitin comes from the exoskeletons of crustaceans, insects and arachnids. Protecting yourself from the sun by rubbing a dead spider on you? No thank-you!

 

Elastin

Elastin is a type of protein, found in the artery walls, intestines, lungs and skin of animals. Elastin is most often found in anti-aging products and sunscreens.

 

Animal Glue

Used most often in shoes, handbags and is even sometimes used for fixing wood instruments, ‘animal glue’ is made by boiling animals’ connective tissue or bones.

It’s apparently the ‘best’ for fixing musical instruments made out of wood, like violins or pianos. It’s also one of the most readily available and widely used glue.

I unfortunately could keep going with this list, but in the interest of not making this article too long, I’ll be ending it here. As you can see, there are many different animal-derived ingredients that can be found in non-food items. This is unfortunate for people who are trying their best to avoid exploiting/using animals, but as said at the beginning of this article, it’s impossible in society today to be 100% vegan.

Another thing to keep in mind, is this list is only talking about non-food products that contain animal ingredients – this isn’t even counting the massive amounts of products that are tested on animals, such as: shampoos, lotions/creams, sunscreens, makeup and more.

And, (just to make things more confusing) cruelty-free does not mean a product is vegan. The difference is, cruelty free means the product just isn’t tested on animals – it says absolutely nothing about the ingredients. There can be products out there that are cruelty-free but not vegan. But, on the flip-side, if a product is vegan, that means it’s cruelty free.

Cruelty-free \= vegan (Cruelty Free does not equal vegan)

Vegan = cruelty-free (Vegan always equals cruelty free)

This is why it’s important to read the ingredients and the label of each product. I always do my best to creep the company’s website to see if I can dig up the answers to my questions, (fortunately many companies are now making things like ‘cruelty-free’ and ‘vegan’ selling points for products) but if you can’t find the information you need on the website, always, always be sure to e-mail or call the company. If you ask them directly, they’ll most likely give you an answer (or might give you a generic ‘check out our FAQ page!’).

If you still can’t find the answers you’re looking for, I usually will end up not buying the product, or looking for a vegan company substitute instead. Another thing I’ve recently started doing is to make my own products if I can’t find an alternative.

While the above is nowhere near an exhaustive list, I hope this article has helped you realize that there are animal products in many different non-food items. I also hope that the information in this article will help you be more mindful of what’s in the products you’re buying, and will hopefully allow you to make a more informed, kind choice with the products you buy.


Sources:

Food Colouring Article: http://www.yourdailyvegan.com/2011/10/warning-what-you-dont-know-about-food-colors/

Raccoon Dog Picture taken from: peta2TV Youtube channel, ‘Olivia Munn Exposes Fur Farms!’ video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab7L8NRRYho

Sheep Facts: https://gentleworld.org/whats-wrong-with-wool/

Tyson Foods plastic bags experiment:

https://www.treehugger.com/green-food/9-everyday-products-you-didnt-know-had-animal-ingredients.html

Stearic Acid Tires: same article as plastic bags (9 everyday products)

Plastic Bags used in Canada/400 years to break down: http://www.mondaq.com/canada/x/678924/Environmental+Law/Will+2018+be+the+Year+of+the+SingleUse+Plastics+Ban

Leather/Cow Being Skinned Photo: https://www.all-creatures.org/aip/nl-20130526-leather.html

Live/Plucked Photo: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/373/242/428/tell-outdoor-gear-companies-to-end-down-plucking-torture-of-live-geese/

Mulesing Photo: https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/wool-industry/mulesing/

Shearing Injury 1: https://www.petaindia.com/features/another-patagonia-approved-wool-producer-exposed-help-sheep-now/

Sea Turtle Eating Plastic Bag Photo: https://www.mcsuk.org/news/turtle-eats-plastic-bag

Silk Info: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombyx_mori

Glycerin info: https://gentleworld.org/hidden-animal-fats/

Gardein Chick’n Patty Review




Chick’N burgers… is there anything greater?

If you’ve been here before, you’ll know that even before going vegan, I was never much of a beef/pork/red meat fan. Chicken was more my jam. I don’t know why, other meats just didn’t taste good to me. (Especially beef)

One of my absolute favourite things ever was having a breaded chicken burger, with some Miracle Whip and lettuce. There’s something just very… I don’t know, satisfying about it. It hits the spot every time.

When I saw these, I was obviously excited to try them.

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I had tried one other chick’n burger brand that was pretty good (I thiiink it might’ve been Yves), but the patty wasn’t breaded. Which, was fine, but I really wanted to find a breaded chick’n burger, so I didn’t have to cross them off my list of favourites. And, I’m so thankful that the vegan movement has come such a long way, and that there are so many different options on the market to choose from, because these looked and tasted just like I remember! (They might even be a bit bigger, too)

Like some of their other products, Gardein only puts 4 in a pack, and I just want to ask: why is the majority of vegan food packaged so small? Are they assuming not whole families are vegan, or that no one will bring their products to get togethers’ for others to try? How do you expect people to share their vegan food with other people (and possibly convince others to go vegan) if you don’t make the food optimal sharing size? You could easily fit at least two more patties in that bag. Honestly the amount in one bag is usually the only thing I don’t like about their products. If they upped their product to bag ratio, they’d be golden.

The inside/chick’n part tastes just like the rest of their other faux chick’n products (I’m pretty sure it’s just tofu), and the breading appears to be just plain old breadcrumbs. Nothing that fancy to write home about for these guys, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not great! Sometimes, all you need/crave is something simple. I understand why vegan companies keep trying to outdo themselves, and go bigger and more flavourful, but sometimes the simplest ingredients/flavours are all you need.

Another great thing about these burgers, is what I’m dubbing The Vegan Advantage: they take virtually no time to cook. 10 minutes on medium heat in a frying pan, or you could throw them in the oven to bake and in almost no time, they’re ready to go.

Put these babies on a whole wheat bun, topped with Hellmann’s’ Carefully Crafted Dressing and Sandwich Spread (vegan Miracle Whip), add some lettuce, and bam! You’ve got yourself a no fuss, filling and flavourful dinner.

Seriously, there’s not even that much more I can say to describe them. If you haven’t tried them already, go out and do it, and watch how fast they become a favourite/summer staple.


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Contact High

Based on the Brad Paisley song of the same name. (Listen to it here)

Words: 667

Written: 19.05.13

NFF, Song!Fic


She felt her breath catch in her throat, as she locked eyes with the man on stage, I can’t believe it. She was momentarily stunned, unable to move as she watched him play, and she could’ve sworn the faintest smile crossed his face as he looked in her direction.

No, don’t be silly, she began moving through the crowd again, hoping to find an empty table, it’s all just part of his set. There’s no way he saw me through all these people. She situated herself at the small corner table in the back, mildly surprised to see it empty. She hopped up on the stool, before turning her attention back to the man on the stage, smiling as she watched him play, do I want him to see me?

She watched him in silence for a moment, heart fluttering as he closed his eyes, still singing, damn he’s cute…

She shook her head, can you stop being such a girl? Geez… she felt her cheeks flare as she looked away, turning to look at all the couples who were dancing, hoping the dim lighting was enough to hide her blush.

“Y’all are such an amazing crowd! We’re gonna take a little break, and then we’ll get right back to it.”

She felt her face split into a smile as she heard his southern drawl, damn, I forgot about that. She turned back to the stage, taking a sip of her beer as she watched him and the band file down the stairs on the side of the stage.

Now’s my chance, she took in a deep breath, sitting up straighter before running a hand through her hair, just as he turned and saw her. She couldn’t help the smile on her face as he began making his way over, stay cool. He’s just a guy. A really hot, southern-accented guy…

“Hey you,” his smile widened as he got closer, giving her a once over, eyes sparkling, “Why didn’t you tell me you were comin’ out tonight?”

“Oh, yeah, well, y’know…” she mentally face-palmed, get it together, girl! She began picking at the skin around her nails, casting her gaze down, “I didn’t want to disappoint you if I ended up not coming out.”

He shook his head, “You think you could disappoint me? Pfft,” he slid into the opposite side of the booth, “So… what’d ya think?”

“Oh,” she felt her face heat up again, and she picked at the skin more forcefully, peeling a piece beside her thumb down, “I really only caught the last few seconds of the song. But it sounded pretty good.”

He took her hand in his, effectively stopping her picking, and got her to look him back in the eye, “How about I sing you another?”

“W-wh… j-just me? I’d love that, but I mean….” Damn it, I sound like an idiot!

His smile widened and he slid out of the booth, helping you out, hand still clasped in his, “I’ve been working on a new one…”

“Y-yeah?” She felt like her heart was in her throat as he led her toward the stage.

“I’ve been working on it all tour,” he didn’t stop until they were right in front of the stage. He spun around, suddenly nervous eyes scanning her face, “Tell me what you think?”

She nodded mutely, barely registering when he let go of her hand and started up the stairs to the stage, giving her a nervous smile. What is he nervous about…? She watched in fascination as he picked up his guitar, pausing a moment – with his back turned – to take in a deep breath before turning and walking to the mic.

“Alright, ladies, gentlemen,” he pulled a stool over and sat down, getting control of the noise in a matter of seconds, “I thought it’d be time to slow it down. Now, this is a brand new song I wrote,” he glanced down at her, that sparkling smile back, “for a very special woman.”


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Carved (PHSH Effect #4)




This month, we’ll be keeping with the word effects, and I’m going to show you how to make a carved/chiselled effect on wood, metal or concrete.

There’s two ways I’ve found to do this, so I’ll be showing you both. They both take roughly the same amount of skill, but one of them works better for making the words looked carved into a variety of backgrounds, and the other is more specific to the three backgrounds listed above.

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This is the first way, which looks best on either a wood, metal or concrete background, using the Times New Roman or another similar font.

This is the second way to do it, and as you can see, it easily works on a non-wood, metal or concrete background, and doesn’t need to be done using the Times New Roman font.

Way #1:

Step 1. Get a metal/wood/concrete background. You can do so by either finding one on a royalty-free image site (such as Pixabay.com) or, you can right-click and save the two pictures below to use as the background for this tutorial.

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Step 2: Once you have the pictures, open PHSH and make a new document. Drag the pictures to your work document and resize if necessary. Once that’s done, type a phrase or sentence you want to change. For the purposes of this tutorial, I’ll just use ‘Carved’. Also, to keep things simple, I’m just going to use the Times New Roman font, and made it 150pt size. (My canvas size is roughly 25cm x 17cm)

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With this way to do it, you’ll want to make sure that your font colour is just plain black.

Step 3: Right-click on the Type layer (‘carved’ word) and go to the Blending Options.

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In the Default Blending Options (the panel that opens right when you click on it), go to Blend Mode, and select Screen from the drop-down menu.

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Step 4: Once you select Screen, you’ll notice the word disappeared. Don’t freak out, it’s still there (as evidenced in the Layers panel), we just can’t see it right now.

Next, go to Bevel and Emboss, and copy the values listed below:

  • Style: Outer Bevel
  • Technique: Chisel Hard
  • Depth: 200%
  • Size: 12 (or 6 depending on how the finished product looks)
  • Angle: -45, 30 (be sure to uncheck the Use Global Light box)
  • Highlight Mode: Overlay, Opacity: 100
  • Shadow Mode: Multiply, Opacity: 75

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Step 5: Once you’ve got that all changed, then go down the left-side list to Inner Shadow, and input these values:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Angle: 120 (uncheck Use Global Light)
  • Distance: 16
  • Choke: 16
  • Size: 12

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Once that’s done, go down the list again to Colour Overlay, and apply these values:

  • Black
  • Blend Mode: Overlay
  • Opacity: 55

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Once you’re done applying all three of those effects, click Okay to apply them to the Layer.

You should notice the text changing while applying each of those effects, and once you apply the Colour Overlay, you should notice the word now looks like it’s carved into the wood.

And that’s it for this way! You can press on the Eye symbol in the Layers panel that’s next to each Layer, so you can see the effect on the teal metal and the concrete backgrounds.

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 1 Carved Effect Done Concrete - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Now that I’ve shown you how to do that way, I’ll show you how to do it the second way below. Be sure to save the above work so you don’t lose it!




Way #2

Step 1: Open a fresh document, and drag and drop any other background you want to use. (This time it doesn’t have to be a wood/metal or concrete picture) For this one, I’ll use a room with wallpaper and a chalkboard.

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 2 Blank Chalkboard - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Step 2: Type the word/phrase you want to use. Again, I’ll just be using ‘carved’ for the tutorial.

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Step 3: This time, go to Fill, which is in the top of the Layers panel, and change it to 0%.

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 2 Fill 0% - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Step 3: Now, we’ll be going back to the Blending Options, and back to Bevel and Emboss. Change the values to:

  • Style: Outer Bevel
  • Technique: Chisel Hard
  • Depth: 100%
  • Direction: Up
  • Size: 10, Soften: 0
  • Angle: 145, 40 Degrees (Uncheck Use Global Light)
  • Highlight Mode: Screen, Opacity: 75%
  • Shadow Mode: Multiply, Opacity: 75%

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Now go back down to Inner Shadow:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply (Black), Opacity: 90%
  • Angle: 145 Degrees (Uncheck Use Global Light)
  • Distance: 15, Choke: 30, Size: 15

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And lastly, back down to Colour Overlay:

  • Blend Mode: Soft Light
  • Colour: Black
  • Opacity: 75%

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Once you’re done that, click Okay to apply the effects. Don’t forget to save your work!

As they are now, both these effects look pretty much the same. The one (big) difference here, is the first way tends to not look right if you try to use a font that’s not close in nature to Times New Roman, and doesn’t work that well if you change the font colour from black.

This second way works for a myriad of different fonts and colours. It’s also faster to do, which can help save you time so you’re not spending too much time on one effect.

Another thing I’ve found works best using the second way, is changing the colour used in the Colour Overlay.

For example:

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Series - Carved Effect - Way 2 Carved Chalkboard - phsh effect, writing tips, book cover tips, indie author tips, self pub tips

Looks fine on the chalkboard background, too. Although we’d need to rotate the text to make it match.

AterImber.com - Writing - Book Posters - The Haunted Corpse - Help Me Poster

Here, I used way #2, but instead of using black for the Colour Overlay, I used red – giving the poster a bit more of a morbid feel by making the words look like they have blood in the dents.

Feel free to play around with different colours, angles to see which combination works well for what you need. Also, a quick side note: the Distance/Choke/Size values will most likely vary depending on the size of your font. Don’t be afraid to play around to see how the effect will look in different situations.

As always, don’t forget to save your work as either (or both) a PSD and/or PNG file. I’d hate to have you get the effect just right and then lose all that hard work because you forgot to save it!

Next time I’ll show you how to give a picture a transparent background. Keep your eye out for that July 29th.


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Hold Your Breath

This one is kind of dark, so fair warning.

I may or may not make this a longer fic, so let me know if you want me to continue the story in the comments.

Started: 17.11.23

Finished: 19.04.06

Words: 2,613

TW: Suicide (attempt)

Gen., Hallucifer


Sam!”

Without a second thought the angel dove off the building after him, hoping against all odds he’d reach him in time. He couldn’t help the stab of guilt that hit his heart as he saw the giant’s eyes widen out of surprise.

Did you really think I wouldn’t come after you?

I thought… why?

What do you mean why? Why what?

Why did you…?

To save you, dumb-ass, why else?

I’m not worth it, even falling a hundred stories, the giant somehow managed to sound like a kicked puppy.

Gabriel rolled his eyes and pushed his wings out from his vessel’s back, feeling the skin rip apart with the force. He held back a cry of pain, screwing his eyes shut for a moment while they stretched themselves out. He let out a breath and opened them, zoning in on the awe on the brunette’s face. He peered behind him and noted how close the ground was getting before flapping his wings once, managing to generate enough wind to push himself forward.

Gotcha, he wrapped the giant up in his arms before barrel rolling, wings curling around the now-on-top human.

Gab-

 

 

The giant blinked his eyes open with a groan, tilting his head in confusion at the darkness, this can’t be heaven… he coughed and went to sit up, momentarily panicking when he felt something heavy against his back. What the…? He turned his head to see he was surrounded by beautiful gold. Oh, no, the giant swallowed thickly and turned back to the ground, feeling himself pale as he saw the angel’s face, you didn’t… he brought a shaking hand up to his neck, unable to calm the pounding of his heart. No… c’mon, he pressed harder against the flesh, feeling a boulder settle into his stomach. He let out a strangled cry before beginning CPR, you can’t – I told you not to come after me, he felt the ribs crack under the pressure, why didn’t you listen to me?

“Sam!”

The giant could hear his brothers’ cries from down the street while he continued CPR. You shouldn’t have-, he sniffed and hastily wiped at his eyes, the angel’s voice still ringing in his ears. Why didn’t you just let me die?

“Sam? Let me through! Let me through-

The brunette sighed, caressing a hand down the angel’s face, it wasn’t supposed to end like this.

 

 

“Whaddya say, Sammich?”

The angel’s voice broke through his thoughts. He turned and failed to hide the blush that crept up his cheeks.

The shorter man’s eyes crinkled with concern, “You okay?”

“Yeah,” he faked a smile, doing his best to ignore the blonde perched in the corner, “I’m great. Sorry, I was just a bit distracted.”

Lucifer chuckled, “Please, he’s not that good looking.”

“Pfft, please, I’m not that good looking.”

The ex-hunter shook his head before getting up off the couch, “I think I’m gonna call it a night.”

“Call it a night?” The shorter man was back by his side in an instant, “It’s 7:30pm on a Friday,” he tilted his head as he gave him a once over, “Are you sure you’re alright?”

“I’m fine, just a bit tired,” he side-stepped his boyfriend and began climbing the steps, suppressing a sigh as he heard two pairs of footsteps behind him.

“Oh c’mon Sammy,” he could hear the grin in the devils’ voice, “don’t you wanna go out and have some fun?”

What’s really going on, Sam?

The giant slipped the bracelet off, I can’t let you know… not yet, “Nothing, I told you, I’m just tired.”

“But why are you so tired?”

“Yeah, Sam,” the two men followed the giant into the bedroom, blonde hopping up on the dresser, “why are you acting so weird?”

“Just leave me alone!” The ex-hunter spun around, instantly regretting the words as he came face to face with his boyfriend.

Gabriel nodded, taking a few steps back as he cast his gaze down, eyebrow rising before a hurt look fell across his face. Sam, confused, followed his gaze down to the bracelet he was holding, shit.

“Good job, Sam.”

“Gabe, don’t-”

“No,” he shook his head, bringing his eyes back up to the giant, fake smile plastered on his face, “It’s fine. You don’t trust me to be in your head, I get it,” he turned on his heal to leave.

“Gabriel,” the brunette took a step toward him, “that’s not why-”

“Get some sleep, Sam.”

 

 

“Sam!”

He felt cool air hit his skin as the giant wing was lifted away from his back. He couldn’t bear to tear his eyes away from the angel’s face, you came after me… he felt his brother pull him to his feet by the collar.

“Sam? Sammy? Are you okay? Is anything broken?”

“H-he-,” the giants’ sentence cut off into a series of coughs, damn.

“W-water! I need water!” Dean’s hand was on his back in an instant, rubbing circles into it, “Sammy? Hey, c’mon talk to me.”

The younger couldn’t help the tears that welled up in his eyes, “H-he came after me.”

 

 

Sam huffed as he stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, why can’t I get you to shut up?

“Sam, we’ve been over this,” the devil crossed his legs as he sat on the toilet seat, “thinking at me is the same as talking. Might as well use your voice.”

No, he shook his head violently, making himself dizzy from the force, you’re not real.

Lucifer sighed before getting up off the toilet, coming up behind the giant, lips barely an inch away from his ear, “Are you sure?”

The brunette couldn’t help the shiver that ran down his spine at the words, the way the breath tickled the hair on his ear, how could he-

“Sammich? You okay in there?”

He jumped at the voice, heart practically leaping out of his chest. His eyes swept the room, not seeing the fallen angel anywhere.

He ran a shaky hand through his hair as he took a deep breath, “Y-yeah, I’m fine. I’ll be out in a minute.”

The giant held his breath as he waited to hear retreating footsteps. He deflated against the sink, turning back before turning it on, bringing some water up to his face, that was close.

“Don’t worry, Sam,” Lucifer clapped him on the shoulder, smiling at their reflections, “you won’t have to keep me a secret much longer.”

 

 

“He’s in shock, but other than that he’s fine. No broken bones, barely even a scratch. From a fall that high, I’d say he’s pretty…”

The EMT’s voice droned on in the background, as he sat on the edge of the ambulance, picking at the lip of the paper cup in his hands, shock… this is what shock feels like?

“I know it’s not quite the outcome you wanted,” Lucifer came over and sat beside him, “but hey, you did want a body to hit the sidewalk, so… that’s still a win, right?”

Sam shook his head, how can you say that? He was your brother.

“Oh, c’mon. It’s not like I killed him.”

He scoffed, eyes still on the now-covered body, why did you come after me?

“You know why.”

I don’t-

“He loved you, Sam. Just like I told you.”

No, no he didn’t. He wasn’t- he tore his eyes away from the body to look at the fallen angel, “Why are you even still here? You got what you wanted.”

“How many times do I have to tell you?” The blonde blew out a breath and looked at the body bag, “He loved you. I never would’ve-” he cut himself off as he looked down.

Sam eyed him for a moment, “This is a trick, right?”

“What?”

“This is all just you, right? You’re tricking me into thinking that-”

“No, Sam, I’m not.”

He glanced back up to the body bag, boulder settling into his stomach, no, this can’t- there’s no way this is- He turned back to the blonde, lump forming in his throat as he noted his sad expression, “Please tell me this isn’t real.”

The devil hung his head lower, not meeting the ex-hunter’s eyes.

The giant swallowed thickly, no, this- this can’t be real. “Y-you’re lying.”

“I’m sorry, Sam.”

“No!” He stood up, hands balling into fists at his sides, glaring at the shorter man, “You’re lying!”

“Sammy?” Dean’s voice was somewhere behind him.

The blonde kept his eyes on the ground, voice low, “Sammy, please-”

“No!” He pounded a fist on the side of the ambulance, making him jump, “Don’t you call me that! Don’t you dare!

Lucifer closed his eyes but otherwise didn’t respond.

He ran a hand through his hair, nearly pulling half of it out with the force, before punching the ambulance again, “Tell me the truth!”

“Sam?” Deans’ hand was on his shoulder, trying to get him to turn, “What’s going on? Who’re you talking to?”

“I tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen.”

He grit his teeth, fighting against his brother, “I’ll kill you, you bastard! You hear me?”

“Sam, whoa, hey, what the hell?”

“Let me go!” he struggled as his brother pulled him backward, “Let me go! I’m gonna-” he blinked at the now-empty ambulance, no, he turned around, wildly, eyes scanning the area for the blonde, hot tears began streaming down his face, “I-I thought… he was right there… I-I don’t-”

“Let it go,” he let his brother crush him into his chest, arms wrapping tightly around his back, “you’re okay.”

 

 

“I love you.”

The giant swallowed thickly and nodded, looking over the angel’s shoulder, “I know.”

Lucifer sat in the corner, starring at the pair as they ate breakfast, it’s not real. How could you love such a broken mess?

Sam reluctantly bit his toast, chewing it as he brought his eyes back down to the table, sighing heavily, how much longer are you gonna keep this up?

“I’ve told you, Sam, this isn’t me.”

Yeah, right.

Gabriel grabbed his hand then, bringing him back to the moment, “You know that, don’t you?”

“’Course,” Sams’ eyes didn’t leave the table, stop it. I can’t- he raised his eyes to the blondes’ please just stop this.

Lucifer sat up on his knees, cocking his head to one side, “Don’t you love him?”

You know I-  the giant sighed and got up from the table, “I-I need to take a walk.”

“A walk?” Gabriel followed him, “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. I just,” he took a deep breath, “I need some air.”

“Whoa, hey,” the angel caught his wrist, spinning him back to face him, “Can I come?”

Sam sighed heavily, and shook his head, “I just… I need some alone time.”

“Alone time?” Gabe chuckled nervously, “is the six hours when I’m at work not enough?”

“Gabe, I-” He glanced over his shoulder to the blonde, who was leaning against the stairs, “It’s hard to explain. Please, just let me…” he brought pleading eyes back to his boyfriend.

“O-okay.” Gabriels’ face crinkled in concern and the giant couldn’t help the stab he felt hit his heart. The brunette crushed him against his chest, squeezing tightly, “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

Sam closed his eyes in an attempt to keep the tears at bay, “I-I love you, too.”

“There it is!” Lucifer clapped his hands before bringing them to his chest, “What a great looking couple you guys make.”

Sam backed out of the hug, moving to the door, “I’ll be back soon.”

“Sam,” the giant turned, fighting the pain in his heart to go away, “Are you sure I can’t come?”

“Yeah, Sam,” Lucifer crossed his arms over his chest, “Why don’t you let him come?” He gasped, before smiling, “You could turn it into a picnic!”

I gotta hand it to you, you’re at least making it convincing. Sam sighed and shook his head, “No, I-I need to do this by myself.”

“Do… what?” Gabriel moved in front of the door, stopping him from leaving, “Sam, what are you gonna do?”

“Nothing. I just…” he failed to swallow the anger, why are you making this so hard? “I already told you, I just need some air.”

“Okay, okay,” the brunette moved to the side, concerned eyes still on his face, “Just… come back in one piece, okay?”

Sam sighed in defeat as he opened the door, doing his best to ignore the pull on his heart, “I-I need to go,” he hastily exited, letting out a giant breath as he all but ran down the driveway, you won’t have to pretend much longer.

 

 

“Sam where are you going?”

The giant took in a shaky breath as he crossed the street, hands balled in his pockets, to the tower.

“The tower?” Lucifer let out a whistle, “Damn, you really take that ‘go big or go home’ thing to heart, don’t ya?”

He picked up the pace, uselessly trying to outrun his own mind. I need this to end.

“What are you talking about?”

Does he sound… worried? No – no way. He’s just mad that he’s losing, Sam starred up at the tower from the bottom, taking in a breath, I’ll be able to wake up once and for all.

“Sam, how many times do I have to tell you?” Lucifer stayed close behind the man as he picked the lock on the door, feigning a look out, “Your relationship with my brother is real. This is all real. You’re not in the Cage.”

“Excuse me if I don’t take your word for it.”

“I… I guess I had that coming,” he followed the giant into the building, “But there are less… extreme ways to test your theory.”

“Pfft, please. You don’t even know what I’m going to do,” Sam started up the stairs, “Stop faking concern.”

“Climbing the stairs to one of the citys’ tallest buildings? Yes, whatever are you planning?” Lucifer started up after him, “When have I ever lied to you?” At the snort he continued, “When have I ever outright lied to you? I’ve negated certain truths, sure, but I’ve never, never just straight up lied. And I wouldn’t now.”

“Gee thanks, Satan,” Sam shot a look over his shoulder, “That makes me feel so much better.”

He heard Lucifer sigh as they kept climbing, why is he trying so hard to make me believe him?

“I’m just trying to keep you from doing something you’ll regret.”

“Oh, yeah, cause you’re all about caring,” Sam rolled his eyes as they passed the tenth floor.

“Sam, listen to me,” Lucifer cut in front of him, placing his hands on his shoulders, and looked the ex-hunter in the eye, “You. Are. Not. In. The. Cage.”

Sam starred at the devil, trying his best to ignore the small boulder of doubt that was settling into his stomach, could he actually be telling the truth? No. No – don’t fall for it, Winchester. “I know you aren’t the most gracious loser,” Sam stepped out of his grip, shaking off the feeling and kept climbing, “But this is just sad.”

“Sam, please,” Sam chuckled, mildly intrigued that the devil seemed to be pleading with him, “take a moment and truly think about what you’re about to do. What if you’re wrong? What would that do to Gabriel? To Dean?”

The brunette paused, standing in front of the roof access door, “If I’m wrong?” He bit his lip, closing his eyes, Gabriels’ face flashing through his mind before he pushed through the door, “Then at least I won’t have to keep seeing you.”


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Vegan Fast Food: Cineplex Edition




With the summer months coming up, and school letting out, there’s a good chance that you’ll find yourself at a movie theater sometime in the next few months.

New vegans, fear not! Thanks to this new Surprising Vegan Fast Food series I’m starting, you can still enjoy the fruits of the movie theater labour. Enjoy your movie nights out with no worry as you take a bite out of one of the below foods.

*As always, all the following information is specific to Canada. If you live in a different country, I recommend you check the ingredients yourself for your specific country*

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Tips - Vegan Fast Food Cineplex Edition

Concession Stand

Big Screen Snax:

  • Nacho Chips (Plain, Round)
  • Chunky Salsa Regular
  • Jalapeno Slices

Popcorn:

  • Popcorn Topping

The Allergen chart says that the ‘popcorn topping’ is vegan, but the butter topping they use contains milk. I’m assuming the ‘popcorn topping’ is some sort of salt. Good to know you can still enjoy popcorn at the movies! Though I’d recommend perhaps calling ahead, since they would most likely have to make you a brand new batch. (And let’s be honest, that would be pretty annoying to do to the workers without notice, especially if you’re going when it’s busy)

Pop-Topia:

  • Kettle Corn
  • All Dressed

Outtakes:

  • French Fries
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Onion Rings
  • Pretzels
  • Salt and Cinnamon Sugar
  • Thai Chili Wrap (nix the chicken)Dips:
  • Heinz Plum
  • Honey Mustard (contains honey)
  • Sweet Chili Thai

YoYo’s (Sorbet Flavours)

  • Wicked Watermelon
  • Aloha Pina Colada
  • Blueberry
  • Cherry Bomb
  • Grape Balls of Fire
  • Mango
  • Mango Orange
  • Luscious Limeade
  • Groovy Green Apple
  • Orange Dreamsicle
  • Orange Pineapple
  • Orangey Orange
  • Passion Fruit
  • Peach Passion
  • Tropical Punch
  • Sweet Lemon
  • Punchy Pineapple
  • Pomegranate
  • Puckery Pink Lemonade

I didn’t list them, as they’re not exclusive to Cineplex, but there are a bunch of vegan candies you can usually buy at the concession stands as well.

As you can see, there are many goodies we as vegans can still enjoy at the movies.

Have a movie snack fav I forgot to list? Let me know in the comments!


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One For The Memory, Two For The Pain




Request from qslucid: I just saw your amazing Samifer fic, wonder if I can request for another? Maybe Demon Blood Addicted Sam, I imagine the scene of Sam drinks Lucifers’ blood and very enjoying it, whether salvation or corruption in the end would be good. <3

I hope you enjoy it!

Requested: 19.04. 25

Written: 19.05.02

Words: 1,897

Samifer, DemonBloodAddict!Sam, Hallucifer


“I told you he’d start to suspect something.” The blonde stretched his legs out in front of him, eyes on the giants’ kneeling form as he dug through the closet.

“Oh, well, good for you,” Sam continued flinging clothes behind him, getting increasingly desperate the deeper he dug, “C’mon, it’s gotta be in here somewhere.”

Lucifer peered over the edge of the bed, “What are you even looking for?”

“My contacts,” he reached the back wall of the closet, face falling, “They’re not here.”

“Contacts?” Lucifer sat up, tilting his head slightly in curiosity, “Since when do you wear contacts?”

Sam huffed, spinning away from the closet on his knees, scanning the room, “I don’t. I bought them after the last time they’d….” he let his voice trail off as his eyes landed on the dresser, maybe I moved them? He got up and made his way over to it, pulling out one of the drawers, beginning to dig through it.

“You’re worried your eyes will change?” Lucifer moved to sit on the edge of the bed frame, eyes wide, “How much have you been drinking?”

Sam shot a look over his shoulder, “What? No. Not that much. Shut up,” he turned back to the dresser, beginning his assault on the next drawer.

“Then why do you need them?”

“Hey, Sam,” Deans’ voice made the giant jump, and his head whipped up to face the open door. The blonde surveyed the clothes strewn about the floor, and the open closet doors before his eyes landed on his brother, hunched over the dresser, fistfuls of clothing in both hands, “… You lose something?”

“Uh, yeah,” Sam placed the clothes in his hand down, and straightened up slowly, “Y’know that pocket knife you gave me last year at Christmas? I was trying to find it.”

His brother didn’t look convinced but he nodded anyway, “Steaks are almost done.”

“Okay, great,” the brunette forced himself to smile, “Thanks.”

“They’ll be done in fifteen. Think you’ll be done before then?”

Sam forced a laugh and nodded, “Yeah, I’ll be down in a few.”

His brother did one more take of the room before leaving, closing the door behind him.

Sam let out a heavy breath before turning back to the dresser, beginning to dig through it again, that was close.

“Sam,” Lucifers’ hand on his shoulder made him turn. The devil searched his eyes, “You should get yourself sorted. I’ll clean this up.”

“Don’t be stupid,” the giant waved a dismissive hand at the devil before turning back to the dresser, “I’ll find them and then I’ll-”

“Sam,” he kept his voice hard, “Go shower. Now.”

“But I-”

“Do you want them to interrogate you over dinner?”

The giant open and closed his mouth silently before shaking his head.

“Good, then go. I’ll deal with this.”

Sam raised his eyebrow at the blonde, why are you suddenly being so nice? “You sure?”

“If you get caught you won’t be any fun to hang around,” Lucifer began picking clothes up from the floor, “And try to work on not looking so strung out.”

“I’m not-”

The devil pointed to the door, “Go.”

Sam rolled his eyes but obeyed, padding down the hallway to the bathroom. He shut the door, before turning to look at himself in the mirror, okay… maybe I do look a little dishevelled. He leaned to his right, turning the tap on the tub, nothing a shower can’t fix.

“Hey, Winchester!”

The call made the giant turn, smoothing his shirt back down as he saw a person standing in the open doorway, who the hell is that? The guy came toward him, evil smile twisting his features.

“Christo.” The mans’ eyes flicked black, damn it.

Sam instinctively took a step backward, feeling his leg hit the edge of the tub, scanning the counter for anything he could use to kill the demon.

“Aw, what’s the matter, Sam? Forgot to bring your special knife with you?” The thing laughed as he almost fell backward into the tub, “At least it’ll be an easy clean up.”

“How’d you get in here?”

“Pfft, please,” the demon gave him a pointed look, “This ain’t exactly Fort Knox.”

Sam flicked his eyes to his left, noting his razor sitting in the shower caddy. He turned back to the demon, I should have enough time to-

“What’re you smirking at?” The demon was no more then a few inches from his face, “You want to die or something?”

Sam lunged for the razor, slashing it across the demons’ throat. The demon stumbled back a few steps in surprise, giving Sam enough time to break the blade out of the plastic, before slashing his throat again, deeper this time. The smell of blood filled the room, and Sam couldn’t help the relaxation he felt at the familiar stench. He swung the body around, holding it up above the bathtub, subconsciously licking his lips as he was mere inches away from the wound.

He starred at the blood, free flowing from the demons’ neck, eyes transfixed as it traced it’s way down toward its’ chest. It wouldn’t be that bad if I had some… would it? No, he half-turned away from the body, I can’t. I need to- he caught a glimpse of himself in mirror, noting his bloodshot eyes and too white face, before turning back to the body in his arms, he did say to not look so strung out…

Just enough for me to not look so haggard, Sam licked his way up to the wound, mouth closing around the middle of the cut, sucking that wonderful red liquid down his throat. His body practically exploded the moment the liquid hit his tongue, he saw fireworks behind his eyelids and felt his body simultaneously get its’ second wind and relax.

He closed his eyes as he sucked the blood down, revelling in the way it warmed his throat as he gulped it down.

“Sam?”

The brunette jumped at the knock on the door, dropping the body into the tub, watching as if in slow motion as the water began washing the blood down the drain, shit.

“Sam?”

He tore his eyes away from the body, doing his best to let go of the disappointment he felt as the blood mixed with the water before swirling down the drain, “Y-yeah?”

“Steaks are ready.”

“O-okay,” he turned the water off, “I’ll be down in a minute.”

He held his breath as he watched the shadow of feet under the door. They stayed a moment, and he could practically see his brothers’ raised hand through the door. He heard his brother sigh before watching as the shadows’ turned and disappeared, hopefully back downstairs.

He turned in a slow circle around the bathroom, noting the lack of blood spray on the wall, what the hell? He turned his attention back to the tub, eyebrows raising at the lack of body. How the hell…? He turned his eyes to the too-small window against the back wall of the shower, not too surprised to see it still shut. He sat on the edge of the tub, maybe I didn’t slit his throat deep enough… maybe he was still conscious and vanished.

But why didn’t he just kill me? Sam got up, shaking his head, going over to the sink to wash the blood from his face. He splashed some cool water on his face, noting the way it felt colder then normal. He patted his face dry before running his hands through his hair, smoothing it back against his head, heading for the door, I guess I’m on salt-line duty tonight.

 

 

Sam let out a heavy sigh as his body hit the mattress, that was the longest dinner ever.

“Well what did you expect?” Lucifers’ voice made the giant look up, following the devil with his eyes from the doorway to the dresser, “You know everything seems slower when you’re juiced.” At the look the brunette gave him, he waved a dismissive hand at him, “Don’t bother. As if I didn’t hear that scuffle in the bathroom.”

“Speaking of,” Sam got up, despite the screaming of his body not to, “How did he even get in here?”

Lucifer kept his expression careful, “What do you mean?”

“It’s not like Bobby to leave a salt-line unchecked. If there was a break in one of the lines, he would’ve fixed it, right?” Sam brought one hand up to the side of his head at it began throbbing, “He’s not exactly lax about that kind of thing,” he grit his teeth as the pounding began to get worse, involuntarily squinting his eyes against the now-too-bright light, “What the hells’ wrong with me?”

Lucifer pushed off the dresser, walking over to the light switch, flicking it off, “You’d think you’d know by now.”

The pounding slightly lessened and he gave the devil his best confused look, “What?”

“Sam,” Lucifer made his way to the bed, sitting on the edge of it, “You were my vessel. Did you really think any bottom of the barrel demons’ blood would do?” He crossed his legs, shaking his head, “Didn’t Ruby explain this to you?”

Sam shook his head, instantly regretting it as it took the pounding in his head up to a violent stabbing.

The blonde placed an uncharacteristically kind hand on his knee, “If you keep drinking bottom-feeders’ blood, it’s going to affect your body. Hell, it is affecting your body already. That headache you’ve been pretending not to have for the past two hours? That’s because of the blood. That demon that came to visit you, Damon? I know, ironic name, but he’s about as bottom barrel as one can get. You, my vessel,” Lucifer slid his hand up from his knee to his face, “You need nothing less then the highest quality blood. Knights of Hell, Lilith, or even,” his eyes sparkled dangerously, taking a deep breath, “Mine.”

Sam clenched his jaw against the pain in his head, doing his best to turn this new information over, to make it make sense. He watched through his eyelashes as Lucifer dragged a razor blade across his wrist, before holding it up to the brunette, giving him a small smile. Sam wasn’t sure if it was because of the pain in his head that was impairing his judgement, or something else, but he latched onto the devils’ arm and began sucking down that wondrous bright red liquid.

As soon as the first drops hit his tongue, he felt his body relax, and the pain in his head begin to subside. He brought both hands up, keeping the arm pressed against his face with so much force, his knuckles turned white.

Lucifer chuckled, bringing his free arm up to pet his head, “That’s it, Sam. Drink as much as you need. You’ve tapped a never-ending keg.”

Sam kept sucking that crimson liquid down, Lucifer oddly content to sit there and wait until he drank his fill, the sun disappearing from view being the only indicator of how long they sat there. The brunette finally retracted the devils’ arm, an audible pop ringing throughout the room as he let go.

Sam flopped backward on the bed, eyes closing in satisfaction. Lucifer kept petting his hair, watching as the giants’ breath began to even out, “Very good, Sam.”


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Yves Veggie Dog Review




Alright, now that the terrible weather is finally close to being gone, chances are you’ll probably find yourself at a BBQ/summer cook-out of some sort over the next few months. You’ll most likely need to either bring a faux meat with you, or tell the host which brand you’d like. I recommend telling them not to worry, and that I’m fine to bring my own, but if they’re insistent, well Yves is one of the easier faux meat products to find/remember the name of.

I don’t know how, but these things have got a pretty classic ‘hot-dog’ taste. I honestly don’t know what gives real hot-dogs that classic taste – from the recipe’s I’ve seen, most of them say ketchup – but it’s a distinctive flavour nonetheless.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Yves Veggie Dogs - vegan, vegan food, food reviews, food reviewer, not-dogs, hot-dogs, summer, BBQ

These taste like hot-dogs, not sausages. You may be wondering if it makes a difference, but trust me, it does. If someone asks you to pick them up sausages, and you grab these, they won’t be thrilled.

I’m not saying these not-dogs (yes I call them not-dogs, cause they’re not dogs! You’re welcome community) are bad, they’re in fact really good – but just know that there’s a difference in taste between sausages and not-dogs. It’s hard to describe if you’ve never had a hot-dog, but they have a universally defined flavour.

I will say, though, I’m thrilled to find a company that makes not-dogs, and not just sausages. I don’t know what it is – maybe they figure hot-dogs are too gross/unhealthy to try to replicate? – but most of the vegan companies I’m aware of only make sausage substitutes. (Or as I like to call them, not-sages)

Not all Yves products are vegan though, so be sure to read the ingredients before buying. So far, I know their Bologne, these not-dogs, their veggie nuggets and faux chick’n burgers are safe. All the ones that are vegan that I’ve tried say ‘vegan’ right on the front. (I’d double check the ingredients anyway, just in case)

So, aside from the classic hot-dog taste, these not-dogs are also really good if you dry-fry them. That is, in a pan with no oil/water. Just plop that sucker on there and roll it around every few minutes. When heated up, they get that classic smoky, BBQ-ed flavour. What I’m assuming is liquid smoke comes out when heated and gives them that awesome flavour.

Also, while heating up, their ‘skin’ begins to blister, and get crispy, which is just like the cherry on top of the smoke-flavoured cake. I don’t know what it is, but I’m a sucker for that blistery, smoky flavour.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Yves Veggie Dog Cooked - vegan, vegan food, food review

(See those blister-bubbles?)

Another good thing about them is they won’t stand out too much from the rest of the food. They’re a little more rectangular in shape to regular hot-dogs, so you’ll be able to tell them apart, but they’re not so different that people will gawk at them and make fun of you. (If they see the package says ‘vegan’ or question why you’re bringing your own, all bets are off) Also, they look ‘normal’ enough, that some of the other guests may even want to try them.

These are also pretty versatile, just like regular hot-dogs. You can BBQ them plain in a bun like ‘normal’, or cut them up and add them to a pasta salad, or kebabs! (Or mac n cheese, but that’s less summer-y)

Also, you can store them in the freezer without changing their texture, which is always a bonus! You could buy a few packs at a time and keep them in the freezer for when you need them.

All in all, these are a pretty great not-dog option and I definitely recommend you try the plain, and spicy flavoured ones. With these by your side, you won’t have to worry about missing a good old cookout or worry about having to bring your own ‘rabbit food’.


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Warped Text (PHSH Effect #3)




In keeping with the theme from last month, we’ll be continuing with text manipulations (check out the basics here). Specifically, we’ll be going through the different kinds of Warping Text there is.

Now, there are 15 different options to warp text in PHSH, I’m going to go through all of them, but will try to keep it brief. You can play around with the settings yourself and see what you like best.

Like the Drop Shadow, Warping Text isn’t the hardest PHSH effect to learn, but can definitely come in handy.

Alright, let’s get into it.

Step 1: Make a new document/project. (Mine is 6in x 6in, for simplicity)

Step 2: Using the Type tool, add text to the document. For the sake of the tutorial, I’m going to just work with ‘warp text’. The Warp Text effect will work with whatever you type, so if you need to say add text to a book cover (or poster), it won’t matter.

To keep things basic, I’m also just going to stick with black text on a white background, and Times New Roman, but again, this effect will work with almost every font/colour/background.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Text In Box

Step 3: While still using the Type tool, right click in the text box, then select Warp Text from the options.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Right Clicked Mani Box

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Warp Text Box

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Warp Text Options

Step 4: From the Style drop-down menu, first warp option we’ll be using is the Arc. (If you’re using a different version of PHSH, the order of the effects may change, and/or you may not have all the effects listed)

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Selection

Once you click on the Arc option, you’ll notice your text is well, arced. See those Bend, Horizontal Distortion and Vertical Distortion options? These are the things we’ll be using for all the effects in this dialogue box. And, depending on the values, they’ll change how the text looks.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Default

 

For example, my default Bend value is +50. This made the text arc so wide that it’s now cut off from the document. To get it back on the document, I can either lessen the Bend value, or, I can click ‘Okay’ (if you’re happy with the warping done) and then I could easily just move the text layer over so it’s no longer off the edge of the document.

Because this is just a tutorial, I’ll ‘fix’ it by lessening the Bend. To do this, just click and drag the arrow along the line, and you should be able to see the text change with the changing Bend in real time.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Bend Lessened

See how the text is getting less Arced? If you go past the 0 on the scale, it will begin to Arc down.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Bend Inverted

Once you get the right Bend you need, you can move on to if you need to Horizontally or Vertically Distort the Warp. The Horizontal Distortion values will either squish, or enlarge one side of the text, while the Vertical Distortion will make the text look like it’s flying at, or away from you. (Like the scrolling text at the beginning of Star Wars).

I left the Bend at 0 for the following pictures so you can see each value by itself.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Vertical Distortion Big

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Vertical Distortion Inverted

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Horizontal Distortion Big

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Horizontal Distortion Inverted

Now that you know what these values do, you can use them in conjunction with each other.

The below pictures are the text with a Bend + Vertical and Bend + Horizontal Distortions.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Bend Vertical Distortion

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Bend Horizontal Distortion

That’s how those values act with the Arc Style. If we choose another Style from the drop-down, the options will remain the same, but the way the text is warped will change.

To keep things simple, I’m just going to go down the list in order, and show the effect with Bend only. The Horizontal and Vertical Distortions do the same thing for each, and I don’t want the pictures to get too repetitive.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Lower Bend

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Upper Bend

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arch Bend

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Bulge Bend

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Shell

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Shell Upper




AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Flag

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Wave

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Fish

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Rise

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Fisheye

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Inflate

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Squeeze

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Twist

You can also change the options from being applied horizontally to vertically, at the top, just under the Style selection.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Warped Text - Arc Vert Style Bend

Feel free to play around with these on your own as needed, too. And, once you find a style of warping you like, don’t forget to save!

Next month I’ll be sticking with the text effects and show you how to make this:

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Flipped




Written for the SPN Amino apps’ What If? Weekend Challenge. (What if Jess went with Sam when Dean picked him up at school?) Coda to Pilot.

Written: 18.01.20

Words: 325

SamxJess


“Jess, this isn’t a discussion, you’re not coming.”

“C’mon, Sammy,” Dean ran his eyes over her body, “I think it’d be fun being in a car with her.”

Now I really regret not wearing long sleeves, she crossed her arms over her chest, suppressing an eye roll when Deans’ face fell. Sam starred at his brother, how can you be thinking like that right now?

He shook his head, turning back to his girl, “It’s too dangerous, if something were to happen to you-”

“Too dangerous?” She strode over to the closet, beginning to stuff clothes in a bag, “So what? I get to stay here worrying about you? Not happening.”

“Yeah, Sammy, how is that fair?”

Jess scoffed, no way in hell am I leaving him alone with that.

“Dean can you please just-”

“Okay, okay, geez. I was just trying to help,” she heard Dean grumble as he made his way to the door, “I’ll be in the car.”

The door slammed shut, and now it was just her and Sam. She didn’t bother turning or stopping packing, “Do you really think I’m going to let you do anything dangerous alone with him?”

“Jess,” he padded over to her, laying a hand on her shoulder, how can I make you understand? “I-I can’t lose you.”

She closed her eyes, why do you have to use that voice? She took a breath before spinning around, “Sam-” she cut herself off as she saw his puppy dog eyes starring back at her, you’re not making this easy, “You think I could lose you?”

He blinked, puppy eyes disappearing, as if he didn’t think of that, she placed a kiss on his cheek, “I need to know you’re safe.”

He sighed, looking defeated, “I won’t let anything happen to, I promise.”

She smiled before turning around him, making her way to the door, he’s so over-dramatic. We’re just finding his dad, how dangerous could it be?


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