Category Archives: Writing

TAF, books, upcoming writing things, etc. Any/everything having to do with writing.

Blood Drips (PHSH Effect #13)

A quick disclaimer:

While this tutorial isn’t too realistic (we’re not adding this effect to a person or animal), I still want to say that if seeing blood makes you nauseous, faint or is in any way triggering for you, please skip this tutorial, or continue with caution.

The purpose of these tutorials is to be helpful, not to negatively affect a persons’ health or cause anyone any harm.


This is the last PHSH tutorial for 2020, so please feel free to check out the other tutorials while you wait for the next one, which will be coming some time next year.

Keep an eye on my Twitter account for posting updates and anouncements!


Since we’re in October now, I thought what better PHSH effect to teach you then to add blood drips to an image?

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It also just so happened to work out that this is the 13th tutorial – it’s like it was meant to be!

As with most of these other tutorials, it isn’t actually that hard, once you know how to do it. There’s just a few very precise steps you need to follow. And, as always, practice makes perfect, so the more times you do it, the better you’ll get!

Let’s get into it.

Step 1: This will either work on text or an image, but for the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to stick with a plain text layer. The technique is the same whether you’re doing a basic picture or something more complicated, so it’s best to start simple, and work your way up.

Starting with Step 1, which is opening a new document, and adding some type/a word to a layer. To keep with today’s theme, I’m just going to type Halloween. The colour doesn’t matter, but it may look more realistic to use a closer-to-blood colour.

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Step 2: Using your brush tool (and a shade of red), hold down SHIFT and make vertical lines coming out of the ends of the words. (Holding down SHIFT will make the lines perfectly straight) You’ll also want to vary the length of the lines and the size of the brush you use, so it looks more realistic.

Tip: Before you use the brush tool on your Type Layer, you may get a dialogue box that says something like ‘you must rasterize this layer before proceeding, and it will no longer be editable as a Type Layer’. Just click ‘Okay’. This just means you can’t use the type tool to edit the layer anymore, but that’s okay. If you mess up you can always delete this layer and make a new Type layer.

Or if you like, you can paint the lines/drips in a new blank layer, so you don’t mess up the text.

Example:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - All the Same Sized Lines - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Compared to:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Varying Length and Size - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

See the difference? The varied length and size already is starting to look like blood!

Step 3: Now that you have your lines, we’re gonna go up to Filter – Liquify.

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You may get a dialogue box that says something like ‘Liquify supports hardware acceleration to improve performance. Verify that ‘Use Graphics Processor’ is enabled in Performance Preferences.’ Just click okay, and then once it opens, set the following values in the Tool Options panel on the right hand side:

Brush Size: 40

Brush Density: 25

Brush Pressure: 48

Brush Rate: 28

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The lines you made may show up by themselves in the Liquify panel, this is okay! It’s just because I painted them in a different layer than the Type Layer, just in case I needed to change something.

This technique will work whether they’re attached to the word or not.

 

Step 4: Now that you’ve set the Tool Options, select the Pucker tool from the left side menu, and drag it down the line you made, stopping just short of the end. Do this for all the lines you made. To do this step, we don’t need to keep the lines perfectly straight, because blood doesn’t drip in a perfectly straight line. So, try your best to make the lines look a bit ‘wiggly’ or just non-straight.

You may also have to hold the brush an extra second above the bottom, just so this part is the most puckered. (You can also change the Brush Size if needed)

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AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Pucker All Lines - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Step 5: Now to make the actual blood droplets, use the Bloat Tool (directly underneath the Pucker Tool) and hold on the ends (or wherever you want blood drops) until you get the desired blood drop size.

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AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Bloat 1 Line - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Repeat on all the lines, and then once you’re done, click Okay. If you need to, you can always re-pucker parts of the lines, or if you accidentally puckered part of the line too much, you can use the Bloat Tool to make it more even.

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Step 6: This is looking pretty good, but they’re still not quite as realistic as they could be. So now, we’re just going to add a simple Drop Shadow to the layer.

If you need help in doing this, head back on over to my Drop Shadow tutorial.

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Be sure to un-check the box marked Use Global Light, and then play with the Distance, Spread and Size until it looks right for your document. You can also change the Opacity to 100%, and the shadow Colour by clicking on the colour square, and selecting a new colour.

I’m going to make the new colour a darker shade of red, instead of pure black.

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Once you’re happy with how the drop shadow looks, click Okay.

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If you did the blood drips on a separate layer like I did, then you will also have to add a Drop Shadow to the word Halloween (or whatever word you typed), because as you can see right now, it looks a bit odd to have a drop shadow on the blood, and not on the word.

These next few steps are optional, but I feel it helps take things a step further, and makes the effect look better. However, this completely depends on what you’re adding blood drips to, so it may not be needed. This is why I always suggest playing around with the effects, so you find what works best for you. That said, this is a Halloween themed tutorial, so I think the extra steps below help add that extra ‘creepy’ vibe.

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Step 7: We’re going to go back into the Blending Options, and this time we’re going to click Bevel and Emboss.

Set the Levels to the settings below:

Inner Bevel

Technique: Smooth

Depth: 590

Up

Size: 10

Soften: 7

Shading:

Angle: 120, 30

Highlight Mode: Hard Light, Opacity: 63

Shadow Mode: Overlay, Opacity: 80

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Bevel and Emboss - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Bevel and Emboss Halloween - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Then set the Contour to the below:

Gaussian (Round one that looks like a hill)

Range: 0

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Step 8:

And finally, we’re going to add a Gradient Overlay, with the below settings:

Soft Light

Opacity: 24

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And add it to the Type layer as well:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Gradient Overlay Halloween - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

And to add just that little extra ‘oomph’ to the image, I’m going to change the background colour to black, so the red colour really pops.

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As always, don’t forget to save your work! (Both as a PHSH file, and as a JPEG/PNG)

Then you can use the image to show your friends, and keeping the photoshop file is always a must, just in case you forget how some of the steps, or if the picture file somehow gets corrupt, or you need to quickly go back and change something.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Finished Effect Black Background - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

And ta-da! That’s it. Not too hard, eh? I would suggest to practice this technique with different text, and then once you feel comfortable, to move on to actual pictures. Since this is the last tutorial of the year, you’ll have lots of time to practice!


Like this tutorial? Check out more here!

A Lord and A Loser (Preview)

Written: 20.06.23

Words: 575

Dexter, 2020’s Halloween Fic

This is my first Dexter fic! It’s written from a victims’ POV. I hope you enjoy!


You groan as you come to, rolling your head from one side to the other. Your eyes fly open as you try to stretch out your limbs and feel them restrained. You strain your neck to look at the bonds, what the hell? Is that… plastic?

“Oh good,” a tall man wearing an apron and gloves comes into your field of vision, “I was hoping you’d wake up soon.”

Your brows knit in confusion, “W-what’s going on?”

He lets out a heavy sigh and points to a blank wall, “Usually, I’d make sure you knew exactly why you’re here,” turns away, walking a few paces back out of your line of sight, returning a moment later holding a knife, “But we don’t have time for that.”

“P-please, I don’t-” you cut yourself off as he comes around your head, and you feel a sharp sting on your cheek, “Please, j-just let me go.”

He carefully gathers blood from the cut into a small bulb syringe, before squeezing it out onto a blood slide, “We both know I can’t do that.”

“I,” you swallow thickly, what is wrong with this guy? “I haven’t done anything. Please.”

A faint smile lights up his features as he stares at the slide for a moment. He stays silent, starring at it for a beat too long, and the boulder in your stomach grows. He blinks at you, refocusing his eyes on the now – face going back to being creepily blank as he pockets the slide, “I wouldn’t call killing three children ‘nothing’.”


Find out how it ends here!

2 Sentence Horror Stories (Preview)

Hey guys!

So for this Halloween, I thought I’d try my hand at some 2 sentence horror stories. Because you don’t need many words to get creeped out/scared. It was a fun challenge for myself, as I’m typically more of a ‘use ALL the words’ writer.

Also, I thought it might be fun to give you 1 horror story for every day from now until Halloween, which is why there is 23 stories below. So feel free to read all at once, or just read 1 a day from now until then.

Either way, I hope you enjoy them! (Also don’t fret – there will be a full Halloween story coming Oct. 23rd)


Started: 20.05.28

Finished: 20.06.09


  1. “Come to bed,” a voice whispers in the darkness.

I freeze in the doorway as I see my dead wife sitting on our bed, dropping the shovel in surprise, how does she keep getting out?

 

  1. Tears were shining in my eyes as I picked up my new born daughter. I held her up to my wife, as I patted her on the head, “It’s too bad you didn’t live to see her.”

 

  1. I stare at myself in the mirror, splashing cold water on my face, you need to get some sleep.

My reflection smirks back at me, before reaching through the glass, “Not tonight.”

 

  1. “Daddy, come play with me!”

I shake my head, blinking back tears as I lower another shovelful of dirt onto the grave, “No, Princess, it’s time for bed.”

 

  1. “Daddy, come tuck me in!”

I rub the sleep from my eyes as I get out of bed, shaking my head as I pad down the hallway, I never should’ve dug her up.

 

  1. I wiped a tear from my eye as I tore up the plane tickets, “It’s okay, we can always get them refunded,” I pressed a kiss to my girlfriends’ hand before getting up, heading for bed, why did you have to kill yourself this week?

 

  1. “There, see?” I open the closet door and give my son a pointed look, “No monsters.”

He smiles in satisfaction before sinking down into his bed as I head for the door, letting out a sigh of relief, thank God he didn’t look up.

 

  1. You awake from a deep sleep to the distinct feeling something is ‘off’.

Then you see the spider crawl out of your mouth.

 

  1. I see the blood on the window sill and immediately begin backing out of the room, I know how this ends.

I feel somebody grab me from behind, chuckling, “Oh, do you?”

 

  1. It’s kind of dark in here, I think as I get up to go to the bathroom.

Then the light clicks on.


Liking the stories? Check out the rest of them here!

Top 10 BEST Things About Being a Writer

There’s a lot of things I absolutely love about being a writer. There’s definitely way too many to fit into one singular article – I mean seriously, we’re just that awesome – so today you’ll have to just settle for my top ten. These aren’t really in a particular order, except for #1.

  1. You can do your job from literally anywhere. Desert? No problem. Forest? No worries. As long as you have a pen and paper (or laptop) you’re good.

 

  1. When you have to fill out a comment card, or are starring at a blank screen, and think you have ‘nothing to say’ – only to realize twenty minutes later you’ve completely filled a page and a half, and are still going. (This is pretty much how I write all my articles, FYI.)

 

  1. Getting to pull inspiration from music. Whether that be pulling from the songs emotion, or creating a story from a line or favourite lyric, there are pretty much endless story ideas that can be inspired by songs. (And, sometimes, you get more than one story out of one song!)

 

  1. You can turn anything into a story. Conversations from those around you, random strangers on the street – even inanimate objects can have dark/obscure back stories.

 

  1. You get to learn a lot of unique things that the average person doesn’t know, and thus are a wealth of obscure information.

 

  1. Getting to ‘work’ in your pj’s. Seriously, it’s one of the best jobs because there’s no dress code. (Fun fact: I’m writing this in pj’s!)

 

  1. Non-writers just do not understand how you can work on so many stories at once, and how you manage to keep all the plot lines straight. (It’s just as easy as watching 6 shows at the same time)

Also, they’re always super impressed when they hear your word count. I love talking about my writing to my non-writer friends, because if I say something like, “Oh, I didn’t do very much writing today. Just 500 words.” They almost always reply with, “500?! That’s crazy!” I mean, yeah, they don’t know it’s only 1 page, but 500 words sounds way more impressive. (Kind of like the ‘1 month’ vs ’30 days’ thing. One month sounds a lot longer)

Also, some days you just need that little extra confidence boost, and they never fail to make you feel accomplished.

 

  1. You’re never actually bored, because you’re constantly thinking about plot lines, characters, your next project, etc. You always have something going on in your head. (Seriously, what do non-writers think about all day?)

 

  1. You can work through pretty much anything/have a constructive outlet for your emotions. Pissed off something didn’t go your way? Write about it. Got some great news and you’re bursting with sunshine? Go for it! Need to pour out all those intimate feelings you don’t let anyone see? Tell it to the page. The page is always there, and never judges. Some of the most beautiful pieces of work have been born from powerful emotions. (Though, that doesn’t mean you have to ‘be in pain’ to be a good writer!)

 

  1. We create something out of nothing. All. The. Time!

Seriously, think about it: until you took pen to paper, or your hands to a keyboard, that story didn’t exist anywhere else in the world. You brought that into existence. That’s so freaking cool! We’re like magicians!


Like this article? Check out more here!

Second Wind (Preview)

Started: 19.07.09

Finished: 20.06.08

Words: 776

Sam x Jess


“Why can’t you just-” Sam cut himself off, closing his eyes as he took in a deep breath, don’t say something you’ll regret.

“Whoa, calm down, Texas.” Jess unfolded her arms and took a step toward the giant, “It was just a salt and burn, nothing I couldn’t handle.”

“That’s not the point.” The giant let her guide him down to the couch, “You shouldn’t be hunting alone.”

“Pfft, what?” Jess gave him an incredulous look, “So you get to go out on hunts alone, and I can’t go out at all?” At the giants’ semi-nod, she raised an eyebrow at him, “You better be joking.”

“Well… it’s not…. I mean, you’re not, y’know….” he let his voice trail off, casting his gaze down, how can I make you understand?

“Not what, Sam? A guy?” She scoffed, “Good luck making that argument to Ellen. Or Jody.”

He was shaking his head, getting up off the couch, “No, that’s not… they’re different -”

“So… what?” Jess followed him up, re-crossing her arms over her chest, “I can’t hunt because I don’t have anyone close to me who’s been killed by a monster?”


Liking the fic so far? Check out how it ends here!

Spread Your Wings (And Fly)

Written: 20.06.02-20.06.05

Words: 3,071

Destiel, Teen!Chesters


“Hey.”

Shit, Cas jumped at the voice, and felt his cheeks heat up as he looked up at the school’s notorious bad boy, “D-Dean, hey.”

The blond leaned himself against the lockers’, getting a little too close to the shorter teen, “Did you happen to get the homework for Ms. Abrahms’ class?”

The raven-haired teen blinked at him a moment in surprise, he wants to borrow my homework? “Uhm,” he shifted his weight nervously, placing the text book he was holding down into his open locker, “I-I’m not actually in Ms. Abrahms’ class…”

“Oh,” now it was Deans’ turn to look embarrassed, “R-really?”

Cas shrugged, “Well, if I am, I’ve missed a hell of a lot of classes.”

Dean let out a hearty chuckle at this – much to the raven-haired teens’ surprise – before turning his crinkled eyes back to him, chuckles fading into a smile, “Thanks, C, I needed that.”

C? Cas felt his face heat up again, did he just give me a nickname?

Dean nodded his head once, before turning to leave, “Alright, well-”

“Gabriel!”

The blonde turned, brows creasing in confusion, “… What?”

“Uhm…” the raven haired teen blinked, mentally kicking himself for blurting out the first thing that came to his mind. Are you actively trying to remain an outcast? He shifted his weight nervously from one foot to the other, “M-my brother, his name is Gabriel.”

“…Okay….”

Great, now he thinks I’m even weirder than they say…  He shook his head at himself, it’s okay… you can fix this. “I… he’s-” He cut himself off, what is wrong with you? And shifted his weight under the blondes’ expectant gaze, lowering his eyes to the floor, “I…I…” pull yourself together!

“… Are you okay?”

Cas snorted, am I okay? How much time do you have?

“What?”

Shit, I said that out loud? He began playing with the sleeves of his shirt, hand brushing against his newest scar, slight pain giving his brain a brief rush of confidence. He let out a nervous chuckle, before turning his gaze back to the blonde, “I’m sorry. I mean, my brother is in her class. I can ask him at lunch if I could borrow it.”

At the continued look, he felt the wave of confidence dissipate, and lowered his eyes back to the floor, “I-I mean, he’s not exactly the best student, and he doesn’t exactly keep the best notes. He’s actually planning on dropping out, so he doesn’t really see the point in keeping good notes, which I guess makes sense, but-” he cut himself off as he flicked his eyes back up, and noted the look on the blondes’ face, “I-I could ask him… if you want.”

The blonde placed a hand on his shoulder, when did he get that close? and gave him a soft smile, “That’d be great. Thanks.”

Cas blinked absently at the blonde, trying to process the kindness. He… he’s not running in the opposite direction? He couldn’t help the butterflies in his stomach as their eyes met. Wow… being so close, he was able to see that not only were his eyes green – I could’ve sworn they were brown, – but they also had three different shades of green in them, that appeared to be fighting for dominance in the harsh overhead light. He couldn’t help but stare as he noted the light grey ring around the green, like it’s trying to keep the colour from spilling out. He tilted his head slightly to one side absently, and noted a few flecks of gold scattered within the chaos, as well. Not even his eyes are boring…

The clearing of a throat brought the teen back to the moment, and he felt his cheeks flush red. He immediately closed his mouth, my mouth was open? He definitely thinks I’m a freak, and took a step backward, lowering his eyes, “S-sorry.”

“It’s uh… it’s fine.” At the distressed tone, he flicked his eyes back up to the blonde, I knew it… Dean had paled, looking like he’d just seen a ghost and he started backing away, “I uh… I gotta-” he cut himself off as he walked into the row of lockers, “Shit!” Cas began mentally kicking himself, this is why you don’t talk to people! The usually cool Dean was flustered, falling all over himself as he tried to get away, “I uh… I’ll see you at lunch, I guess.”

Cas sighed heavily as the blonde disappeared behind the corner and brought his head down into his locker, now would be a great time for a sink hole to open…

 

 

Why did I offer to do this? Cas felt his stomach drop into his shoes as he approached his brother, who was sitting on top of the table, surrounded by pretty much the entire football team. I should get a fucking medal for having to endure them…

As he neared, Gabriel looked up, and they locked eyes – Gabriels’ narrowing and his expression immediately turning to barely veiled disgust. At the sudden change in demeanour, the other kids all turned, and nearly all had the same reaction. Whelp, guess I’m still an outcast, Cas snorted to himself, trying to keep the smile off his face.

“What do you want?”

Cas took in a deep breath, doing his best to steel himself for the upcoming conversation, “I need the homework for Ms. Abrahms’ class.”

Gabriel eyed him suspiciously, leaning back on his arm, “You’re not in her class.”

Cas did his best to ignore the snickers that came from his crew, and forced himself to hold eye contact, “I never said it was for me.”

“Ooohhh!” One of the jocks pounded the table, letting out a whistle, “Look who grew a back bone!”

Cas rolled his eyes, “Can I have it or not?”

Gabriel shared a look with the jock before nodding, mischievous smile on his face, “Sure, yeah. Chad here can get it for you.”

As the jock got up, Cas backed away, brows knitting together in confusion, “I-it’s not in your bag?”

His brother shook his head as the jock closed the distance, “No, I left it in my locker. He’ll take you.”

“I know where-” Cas cut himself off as he felt his feet leave the ground, seriously?

As Chad picked him up, he felt his face grow red as he was carried over to the trash can, being unceremoniously dumped into it.

Cas let out a heavy sigh as he heard the laughter and applause, why do I bother?

Hey!”

Cas felt himself pale as he heard the voice, that sounds like-

“Winchester?” Cas let out another sigh, and was momentarily glad no one could see him, of course he saw that. “What are you doing here?”

“I don’t have to explain myself to you.”

Why does he sound so… angry?

“You can’t talk to him like that!”

“Oh yeah? And who’s gonna stop me?”

Cas couldn’t help but smile as he wiped some gunk off his face, I would pay to see that fight. He took in a shaking breath before trying to stand on shaking legs, at least it’s not tuna day. Cas’ eyes immediately went to the table where his brother was, and tried to swallow his satisfaction at seeing the crew dispersing.

Dean made the short trip over, holding out his one hand to the boy, keeping his voice low, “Are you alright?”

He sounds so concerned… “Y-yeah, I’m fine.” He accepted the hand and went to step out of the garbage, nearly face planting as he tried to make it over the lip, surprised when the blonde easily caught him. He felt his face heat up and he couldn’t quite bring himself to look the blonde in the eyes, “S-sorry.”

Dean shook his head, brushing some of the gunk off his shirt, “You don’t have to apologize. It’s my fault.” At the teens’ confused gaze he sighed, slinging an arm across his shoulders as he began leading them away, “If I knew he was going to throw you in a garbage can, I never would’ve asked.”

Cas snorted, like it’s the first time.

“What?”

Cas blinked at the blonde, how do I keep doing that? He shook his head at himself, “Nothing. I mean, I’m alright.”

Dean gave him a skeptical look but continued steering them down the street, away from the school.

“Uhm… where are we going?”

“My house.” At the quizzical look, the blonde raised an eyebrow, “You got thrown into a dumpster for me. The least I can do is let you shower.”

Cas felt himself pale, “S-shower?” we’re going to his house?

“Yeah, y’know, a shower? When you stand in a tub and let water pour over you while you rub soap all over yourself?”

The shorter teen let out a small chuckle, “I know what it is.”

“Good,” Deans’ arm disappeared and Cas found himself standing on a porch, he lives this close and is still constantly late? The blonde opened the door after a moment, and held it open, gesturing for the boy to come inside.

Cas took a moment to look around. For such a big house, there wasn’t a whole lot of furniture, and the furniture that was there looked pretty old. The couch is nearly falling apart.

Dean pointed to the stairs, “The bathroom is the first door on the left. There should be soap in there already, and I’ll bring you a towel in a minute.”

“O-okay,” Cas felt that familiar drop in his stomach as he began climbing the stairs, relax. You can do this. Just lock the door and don’t take too long.

Cas took in a deep breath as he reached the top of the stairs, trying his best to not sound as winded as he felt. He cautiously made his way over to the first door, and deflated slightly in relief as he saw the bathroom. He quickly got in and shut the door, instantly reaching down and turning the lock.

Okay, good. He walked the few steps away from the door, feeling safe now that he was alone. He looked at himself in the mirror and was mildly surprised, he looked much calmer than he felt, see? You can’t even tell how freaked out you are. Now all you have to do is shower fast.

He began peeling his shirt over his head, holding his breath as the stench of garbage momentarily enveloped his senses. He balled the offending object up before placing it down on the counter, catching a glimpse of the crimson against his pale skin in the mirror.

He shook his head and did his best to ignore the need that was slowly building, not here. He took off his pants, and rolled them up as well, placing them beside his shirt before reaching over to turn on the water, taking a moment to examine himself in the mirror.

He turned himself to the side, eyes zoning in on his stomach. He did his best to fight the disgust he felt as he saw it, holding his breath to suck it in. Not good enough… He shook his head again and let out his breath, turning away to step into the spray, I need to hurry up. I don’t want to make him suspicious.

He let the water cascade down his back as he looked around the small tub. There was only one bottle of body wash and nothing else. He doesn’t even have shampoo. He sighed and turned, letting the water run down his front for a moment, closing his eyes, this is actually kind of-

He cut himself off as the bathroom door swung open, “What the fuck?”

“Hey, sorry!” He heard Dean close the door behind himself, and was grateful he remembered to pull the curtain over, “It’s just me.”

“What uh, what are you doing?”

“I brought you a towel and some fresh clothes. They might be a little too big, but it’s all we have.”

“I, uh,” Cas shook his head, “I thought I locked the door.”

“Oh, right.” The blonde chuckled, “I forgot to tell you, the lock doesn’t work.”

Clearly.

“Sorry.”

“No, i-it’s alright,” Cas took in a deep breath, trying to calm his racing heart, “I-I’m almost done anyway.”

He held his breath as the blonde got closer to the curtain, “I’m gonna be waiting downstairs, in the living room. Just… come down whenever you’re ready, okay?”

Cas forced himself to smile, even though the blonde couldn’t see him, “Will do!”

He heard the bathroom door close and deflated, oh my God… He picked up the bottle of body wash and began scrubbing it over himself, I definitely need to hurry now. He quickly rinsed off, taking one more moment to savour the relaxing pulse of the water before turning it off, poking his head out from behind the curtain.

He reached for the towel and frowned as his arm was just too short, of course. Cautiously, he got out of the tub, quickly drying himself off. He wrapped the towel around his waist as he took a moment to look at the counter, he took my clothes? Cas held up the pair of sweatpants that were left, and laughed, these are almost triple my size. He unwrapped the towel as he pulled them on, frowning as his feet stopped at the knees, Dean isn’t even this tall… he bent over, rolling the ends of the pants up so he could walk, ignoring the scream of protest from his back.

He pulled the shirt on over his head, feeling a small rush of butterflies as he saw the graphic in the mirror, he likes Luke Bryan too? He couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought of the blonde getting pumped to Kick the Dust Up. He shook the towel through his hair before taking a deep breath, doing his best to calm himself before exiting the bathroom.

He crept down the stairs slowly, still holding the towel, and peered down over the banister, seeing the blonde on the couch, looking concerned. He’s just… sitting there, waiting for me? Cas continued down the steps, feeling his stomach drop, as he suddenly remembered the blonde took his clothes. No, he couldn’t of… they  were covered in garbage, there’s no way that he dug through the pockets. He stopped in the doorway of the living room, unsure of what to do.

After what felt like an eternity, the blonde looked up at him, “Oh… hey.”

“Hey,” he shifted his weight from one foot to the other, fidgeting with the towel, “I, uh, I wasn’t sure where I should…”

“Just… leave it in the chair.”

Cas gently placed the towel down, feeling his heart speed up as he stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, “W-we should probably head back now.”

“Back?”

“Yeah,” Cas crossed his arms over his chest, subconsciously hiding the small scars on his wrist, “y’know… to school?”

“Right…” Dean stood, but still looked concerned, “I can drop you off.”

“Drop me off?” Cas’ brows knit together in confusion, “Don’t you have classes to go to?”

“Pfft,” Dean waved a dismissive hand, “Please. I’ve missed so much school they’d be more surprised if I did show up.”

“O-okay…” Cas followed him the short distance to the door, the anxiety beginning to build, “Dean… are you alright?”

“Yeah, Cas I’m-” the blonde cut himself off, before shaking his head, “Actually, no. I-I’m not okay.”

Huh… I didn’t actually expect him to answer, Cas looked around the room in nervousness, “Do you… y’know, wanna talk… about it?”

Dean took in a deep breath and slowly nodded, “I… I do, but I don’t know…” Cas’ concern grew, I’ve never seen him at a loss of words, “Maybe…” the blonde took in another deep breath, raising unsure eyes to the shorter teen, “maybe I should just show you?”

“Uhm… okay.”

Cas took a moment to brace himself, unable to keep from thinking the worst. He watched in agonizing slow motion as Dean steeled himself, preparing himself to do whatever it was he was about to do. The blonde dug his hand into his back pocket and Cas’ felt the boulder in his stomach grow, shit he did find them. How am I going to explain th-

Cas cut himself off in surprise as he felt the blondes’ mouth on his own. What the…? He stayed frozen for a moment, before he felt his body relax as the scent of Dean enveloped him.

Just as quickly as it started, the kiss was over, and the blonde was backing up, cheeks red, eyes on the floor.

“Dean, I…” what the hell am I supposed to say to that? Cas’ brows furrowed as he thought, he’s gay? But I thought… “I’ve seen you make out with girls.”

Dean barked out a laugh, visibly relaxing, bringing his eyes up to meet his, “I… yeah, I… I like girls.”

And boys?” Cas winced as the blonde backed up a little further, “Shit, Dean, that’s not what I-”

“Yes.” He took a big breath before meeting his eyes, “Yes, okay? I like both girls and boys.” He threw his hands up in the air, “I know what kind of freak that makes me, okay? I just thought that maybe…” he shook his head, “You know what? Forget it.” He snatched the keys from the end table, hand reaching for the door, “Let’s just go.”

“Dean, wait,” Cas caught the blondes’ arm, forcing him to face him, eyes searching those gorgeous green seas, “It’s okay.”

“I-it is?”

The look of shock on the blondes’ face would’ve been funny if it wasn’t so sad, how long has he been keeping this a secret?

“Yeah,” Cas couldn’t help but give the teen a smile, “I was just… surprised, that’s all. I’ve only ever seen you with girls, so I didn’t think…”

“Oh.” The relief was visibly evident as Deans’ whole body relaxed as the weight of his secret was finally lifted. They stood there like that for a moment as the blonde processed the information. His look of shock faded into a soft smile and he took a small step toward the teen again, “So…” he flicked his eyes down to the ground, shifting his weight nervously, cheeks flaring, before bringing his eyes back up to the raven-haired teens’, “I can kiss you again?”


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Lazy Days (Preview)

Written: 18.07.15

Words: 550

NFF


“Hey!”

He rolled over, pressing the pillow into his head.

She rolled her eyes and poked him, “Hey! Come on, wake up!” When he didn’t move, she jumped on top of him, shaking his shoulders, “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”

He sat straight up – her falling into his lap – eyes flinging open, wildly looking around the room, “What? What is it? What’s wrong?”

She giggled and kissed his cheek before climbing out of bed, tugging on his hand as she started toward the door, “Come on.”

His brows furrowed, “Where?”

“You’ll see,” she led him down the stairs and out of the front dor.

“Uhm,” he hesitated at the door, making her turn, “Can I put some clothes on first?”

She gave him a once over before continuing, “You’re fine in your pants.”

“But,” he rushed forward with a hard tug, when did she get so strong? “Where are we going? It’s not even light out.”

“Duh,” she led him down their street before cutting through the old storage buildings’ parking lot, “Of course there’s no light, it’s 3am.”

“You woke me up at 3am to drag me to the storage building? … Why?”

She led them to a small alley toward the back of the parking lot, situated between the two halves of the facility before jumping up to pull down the fire escape ladder. It hit the ground with a loud crash, making him jump, well I’m definitely awake now.


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Dryer Lint (Preview)

Started: 15.06.08

Rewritten/Finished: 20.05.11

Words: 1,858

Wincest (Implied), Fluff


“I can’t believe you’ve never done laundry before,” Sam shook his head as they pulled up to the laundry mat.

Dean rolled his eyes as he parked the car, “I can’t believe you’re still talking about this.”

“How have I never noticed?”

“Because I’m smarter than you.” He shot his brother a wink as he got out of the car.

“But… you’ve gone to do laundry alone,” Sam followed him out, brows creased in confusion, “How did you return with clean clothes?”

The blonde shrugged as he grabbed the duffle of dirty clothes out of the back, “Let’s just say laundry mats are a good place to pick up chicks.”

Sam rolled his eyes, bristling as they started toward the door, “Yeah, well, you won’t be picking anyone up today.”

Dean stopped them mid-stride, placing a hand on his shoulder, “Dude, c’mon. That’s not what I meant.”

“It’s fine,” The giant slid out from under the hand, and held the door open for his lover, “Today is purely educational.”

Dean let out a heavy sigh as he entered, bee-lining for one of the machines that was furthest from the door. As he dropped the duffle down on top of it, he paused as he noticed his brothers’ expression, “… What?”

“Nothing,” Sam shook his head as he approached, “It’s just funny to see you in Hunter Mode even when doing mundane things.”

“Yeah, well, dying in a laundry mat is not the way I plan on going.”

Sam chuckled before looking over the machine, “Okay, first things first: Do you know how to turn it on?”

“Pfft, please.”

“Dean.”

“Sorry,” the blonde took a serious look at the machine in front of him, before glancing back to his brother, “I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it’s the button that says ‘Start’?”

“Very good.”

“Sam.”

“Hey,” he held his hands up in mock surrender, “I need to know where to start the lesson.” At the disbelieving look, the giant gestured to the machine, “You know so much? Okay, fine. Turn it on.”

The blonde rolled is eyes before touching the Start button, smirk wiping off his face as the machine didn’t whir to life. He pushed the button again, more forcefully, brows knitting together as it still didn’t turn on. He shook the machine before practically punching the button, huffing in annoyance as it stayed silent, “Well this one is obviously broken!”

“It’s not broken.” Sam pointed to the coin slots in the side of the machine, “You brought the change, right?”

“Yeah,” the blonde dug a small bag of coins out of his pocket.

“Okay, good. Put those in the slots and then push them into the machine.”

He waited a moment as his brother did so, before he pushed the start button again, letting out an exasperated sigh as nothing happened, again, “Okay, so… it is broken?”

“No,” Sam did his best to hold in his laughter as he pointed to the dials next to the button, “You have to tell it what kind of load you’re doing.”

Dean raised his eyebrows in mild surprise before shrugging, “Well-”

The giant rolled his eyes, “Not that kind of load.” He pointed the first dial, “Are we doing colours, whites or delicates?”

“Uhm…” Dean unzipped the duffle, rifling through the clothes in the bag, “is there a flannel and jeans option?”

Sam shook his head, chuckling slightly, “That would be ‘colours’. So, turn the dial so it’s set to that option.”

Dean reached out to turn the dial, letting out an exasperated sigh as it didn’t move, “Dude, what the hell?”

Sam reached out his hand – grabbing the dial on top of his brothers’ – before pushing the dial in, and turning it to the correct setting.

“Well how the hell am I supposed to know to push the dial in before turning it?”

“It’s just… you know what? Nevermind.” The giant pointed to the next dial, “Do you know what load size we have?”

Dean let out a chuckle, before swallowing it down as he saw the unamused expression on his brothers’ face, “Uhm… I don’t know. A duffle full?”

Sam picked up the duffle, weighing it a moment before nodding, “Better set it to Large, just to be safe.”

Dean grabbed the dial, raising an eyebrow at his brother as he tried to push it in, and it didn’t budge, “Okay, what the hell?”

Sam did his best to contain is laughter, “No, this one you have to pull out.”

Dean raised an eyebrow, “Seriously?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, why?”


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WFH: Time Management

*This article was written 20.04.29th, when the corona-virus lock down was beginning to go into full swing in Canada. Please excuse any reference/comment that is no longer applicable.


Now that everyone is pretty much forced to work from home*, you may be scouring the internet trying to find ways to make it work. After all, you’ve always had a physical separation of your work space from your home, so how are you supposed to focus on work while wearing pj’s, and being so close to the dirty laundry?

Maybe you have set work hours from your job, or maybe you’re trying to start a work from home business and the line is a bit blurrier. Either way, you’ll need to know when to close your laptop and switch from Work Mode to Home Mode.

Walking the line between getting work done and having time to relax can be difficult for those who aren’t use to it. Fortunately for you, I’ve been working from home since I started my writing career, which was around 2016, and while I’m not a master, I’ve definitely picked up a few things.

The best thing tip I’ve found is learning how to time manage. Without time management, you’re pretty much lost in the sea of work and relaxing.

But, never fear! Below are the best tips to help you with your time management, so you can take some practical steps into getting things rolling.

 

Tip #1: Have Clear Work Hours

Scheduling your work hours is probably the #1 most important tip for being able to pull this off. If you don’t draw the line in the sand of when Work Mode begins and ends, you’ll constantly be feeling like you could be working when trying to relax, and trust me, feeling guilty for not working 24/7 is not conducive to a good work environment.

Whether you have set hours from your job, or you’re making it up as you go, set yourself work hours. I personally work (about) 10am-8pm. This will help ease your planning of say, knowing when to take a break and do some chores, or when to get dinner ready.

And don’t forget to allow yourself to take breaks within those work hours! You get breaks in the office, and your home office shouldn’t be any different. It’s okay to take a quick coffee/smoke/pee break during your work hours. Or, if you have an unexpected knock at the door? (Which you shouldn’t unless you’re getting stuff delivered) Get up! Don’t feel that just because you’ve set work hours, you need to be glued to your chair.

That’s actually not healthy at all! If you’re able, get up and stretch every few hours, or stand at your desk so you aren’t sitting all day. This will also help you feel less like you’re ‘stuck’ doing work. Just because it’s ‘business hours’ doesn’t mean you can’t take a quick break.

If you worked in an office and used to take regular breaks, do that at home! Try to keep as much of your routine the same, so it’s easier to stick to.

And, once the scheduled Work Hours are up? Get off your computer. I’m serious, especially if you’re starting your own business, I know how tempting it is to keep going. But then the next time you look up it will be 3am. Detaching yourself immediately from your computer once work is done is a big help in mentally keeping those work boundaries straight.

 

Tip #2: Schedule/Make a To-Do List

I know, I know, not everyone is great at scheduling, and not everyone likes to-do lists. But, scheduling stuff is honestly not as hard as some would make it seem. You can schedule literally as much or as little as you want/need to. If your brain will explode at the near thought of having to plan out your whole year (or week), start smaller!

Start with a to-do list for just today. Or, you could break it up even more by making a morning/afternoon (or hour by hour) to-do list. Everyone loves checking/crossing things off a to-do list – it gives you a sense of accomplishment, so go ahead and make one!

Now, again, if you are working a regular job from home, you may have clearly marked things to do, but if you’re a blogger, or similar ‘not real’ job person, this may be more essential to you.

As a blogger (and author!), I’ve found it imperative that I schedule my posts. Back when I started really getting into blogging and making my website functional, I would post 5-10 posts in a few days, and then wouldn’t touch it for a few weeks/months. That’s not exactly a good business model, neither for gaining fans, nor for your sanity.

Having a set schedule will take a lot of pressure off, so you don’t feel like you have to do everything right now, and it will give your fans a dedicated time to check in. It’s hard to see what’s new with someone you like if they post sporadically.


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I’ve found it helpful to list out everything you want to eventually get posted/done, and then organize from there what takes priority. For me, when I’m deciding on what posts to do, it’s actually kind of easy. Since I have a bunch of different interests, I cycle through them.

The way that works the best for me, is to list all the posts I want to (eventually) post, and then fill them in (rotationally) to an editable calendar. This helps keep me organized, since I plan out the entire year, and it takes the edge off my anxiety, because I know it will all get done.

For example, this post is scheduled for publishing August 3rd, but I’m writing it April 29th.  (Hello from the past!) That kind of advanced planning doesn’t happen by accident! Since I have the entire year planned out, it allows me to schedule posts as far in advanced as I need, thus giving me more time to do other things I enjoy. (Like starting the next book, or working on merch, or even just relaxing/having time to spend with family)

Being organized and scheduling my shit actually feeds my lazy side. If I don’t want to do any work at all and take a day off? Sure, I’m scheduled till August, so why not?

The one downside to this method is that you will eventually have to kick your own butt to make sure things are getting done. Which actually leads us into the last tip:

 

Tip #3: Discipline

Not everyone can thrive while working from home. I understand this kind of not-as-structured lifestyle is for everyone. But, I also think one of the main reasons why so many people fail is because they lack the discipline.

Having the ability to kick your own ass is a dying art, but it’s something you’re gonna have to learn to do if you want to succeed.

A lot of people in my life have complained to me about being ‘stuck’ working a job they don’t like, and thus they don’t have the life they thought they would. And, not to sound like a privileged white lady, all I can think is nobody forced you to get that job. Sure, there may have been people who forced you to get a job – but other people can’t force you to make decisions.

They can try to manipulate you either emotionally or some other way, but ultimately, it’s your life, and you just need to find the inner strength and courage to stand up for yourself and say ‘hey, this is my life. I’m going to do whatever I want.’ And if they don’t like it? Well then maybe you need to analyze what it is they’re adding to your life.

If you’re unhappy with your life, take some time and really think about why. Where did things go wrong and what steps can you do to change your life? It’s your life, you have the power to make yourself happy. Do some soul searching and think about what you want your ideal life to look like. What way of life would make you happy?

Once you see the figurative light at the end of the tunnel, start thinking about how to connect yourself from where you’re at now to there. What steps can you take – even if they’re small – to get yourself to your ultimate life? It’s never too late to make yourself happy, you just have to try.

Honestly it is that simple.


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Son of a Bitch! (#2, Summer Edition)

Written: 20.08.01

Words: 549

Gen.

Written for the SPN Amino Heat Wave Weekend Challenge.

Yes, this is an ‘extra’ fic, that doesn’t fit into the 1 fic every 2 week posting schedule, so you better enjoy it. 😛


“Son of a bitch!”

Sam bolted upright, jumping off the bed, snatching his gun from the bed side table, slowly stalking toward the open motel room door, “… Dean?”

At the lack of response, he stiffened, bracing himself as he came up to the door. He took a deep breath and ripped it all the way open, nearly shooting his brother in the face.

“Whoa! Dude, what the hell?” Dean  swiftly disarmed his brother, tucking the gun into the back of his pants, “Are you crazy?”

Sam shook his head as he was instantly hit with a wall of summer heat. The kind that makes you feel like you can’t breath, “Oh my God.”

“I know, right?” Dean shook his head before walking back into the motel, “The first day we get off in how long and it’s this gross out?” He let out a heavy sigh as he grabbed a beer from the fridge, “So much for a day at the beach.”

Sam closed the motel door behind him, easily catching the beer his brother tossed at him, making his way over to the small table his brother had stopped at, “Alright, so what’s Plan B?”

“Well I don’t know what you’re gonna do,” Dean shrugged as he crossed the room, grabbing the laptop off the night stand before nearly throwing himself down on his bed, “But I’m gonna sit here, drink and, uhm…” He adjusted his sitting position as he settled against his pillows, “relax.”

“Yep, got it,” Sam nodded, swallowing down a gulp of beer before snatching his phone and key off the night stand, making his way to the door, “I’m gonna go to the library.”

Dean snorted, raising an eyebrow at him, “You are allowed to have fun once in a while.”

Sam shook his head, hand pausing on the door, “Text me when it’s safe to come back.”

“No promises.”

 

 

Ugh, Sam pulled at his sweat soaked t-shirt, doing his best to unstick it from his chest as he made the way back to the motel, how is it still so hot out? He checked the time on his phone and shook his head, it definitely should’ve cooled off by now.

He continued down the sidewalk as the motel came into view, glad it wasn’t too far away from the library. I never thought I’d be looking forward to a motels’ AC. He took his key out of his pocket, unlocking the door just as he heard his brother swear.

He opened the door, hope dashed as he didn’t feel a temperature difference between the street and the room. He raised an eyebrow as he saw his brother, sitting on the floor, face twisted in despair, disassembled AC unit laying in front of him, “Uh, Dean?”

The blonde wiped the sweat off his forehead with one arm, desperate eyes flicking up to the giant, “I-it just stopped working. I tried to fix it, but,” he kicked it, face falling further, “Stupid thing is too old.” He got up, giving the thing another kick, before turning his eyes to the giant, “What are we supposed to do now?”

“Well,” Sam couldn’t help the smirk he felt split his face as he made his way toward the freezer, “I’d start with removing the flannel.”


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