The Horde: Trigger Warnings, Recaps, and Other News

Episode 4 of the Horde is free. But first, let’s talk trigger warnings. At the end of the post, I’ll have the links to the feed as well as the new episode.

I start every episode of the Horde with a warning about the violence and sexual content that can be in each episode. It was pointed out to me yesterday that the way I deliver it, some people think I might be joking. So let’s be clear: that warning was originally written with this episode in mind. If you don’t worry about such things or don’t worry about them, skip down to the part where I say RECAP!!! since it’s been so long since the last episode for a rough recap of the first three episodes.

I haven’t seen consensus on the best way to handle trigger warnings so I’m just going to put it out there. This episode contains violence against female characters. Icky, vividly described violence with sexual undertones. I don’t approve of the behavior of the characters. It was important to the story. I don’t want to alienate readers based on the content and I invite all to listen, but I also understand that there are people who are not in a place where they can well cope with these sorts of events in stories.

So here’s a brief outline of the stuff that is in this episode:

– A girl gets her hand chopped off

– A girl gets her shirt ripped off

– A girl gets the barrel of  a gun shoved in her mouth

– Everyone is very shocked and disturbed by these events

-The narrator makes really creepy comments upon finding out a girl is 19 instead of 16 as he previously thought.

-This is also a very bloody episode.

I feel the episode is important, I feel what I’m writing about when writing about the potential triggers is a discussion that needs to start about what paranoia and violence can do to us and about the experience of the victim and the judgement of the observer. I want to start dialogue about what could be done instead, about what needs to change in society for these sorts of things to not happen. Yes, in the story it happens on another planet, but sexual violence happens way too often in my country, my state, and my plane of existence.

There’s a lot of other important story stuff about power dynamics and group mentality going on in this episode. I invite dialogue about this because that’s part of the whole point of the story. I can’t read this chapter without getting emotional but that’s because it’s a topic very important to me. I don’t really have much else to say right now but please drop me a line about triggers or the content or how I handle the scene or whatever. If the stuff disturbs you, it should. Sometimes humanity is pretty ugly. Just know that the point of The Horde ultimately is how can we be improved, as a species, beyond the horrible things we do to each other. Ok. Trigger warning and angst provided. It’s time for the recap.


Terry Chamden dreams of the doomed world Farrakan every night, where he follows the adventures of Bridan and Oren as they race to escape the Horde, an evil power that can bring nightmares to life. In this world, Terry wears the invisible, intangible body of a crystal dragon, unable to do anything but watch.

In the waking world, Terry has lost his job after having a mental breakdown. His girlfriend Tanya was murdered, seemingly at the hands of a skeletal monster that called itself Oblivion. Terry’s mom has taken him to a mental hospital for treatment though he spends most of his time dreaming.

Cyrack, the master of the Horde, has an obsession with Bridan on Farrakan. He has reanimated Myra, Bridan’s ex-lover, as a Darkling Hunter, a deformed creature enslaved to his will.

Terry hears the voice of the Watcher, a disembodied voice claiming to be God, telling him that Bridan has knowledge that will let them unlock an ancient power that will let Terry bring Tanya back to life. All he has to do is protect Bridan and Oren on their quest.

On Farrakan, Terry has found a girl with strange mental powers who has the ability to sense him, somewhat. Her father locked her in her bedroom out of fear for her power, where she watches the townsfolk and reads their minds, her only joy the visits to the town by a strange outsider called the Beastman by the locals. Terry thinks she may be his best chance for helping Bridan.

Returning to Bridan and Oren, Terry finds them overwhelmed with the onslaught of the Horde. With the Darkling Hunter’s blade descending on Oren, can Terry do anything to intervene in time?

So it’s not at all complicated (understatement).

Here’s the direct link to episode 4.

The RSS feed to add to your podcatcher is


The Horde Ep 3 Scavenger Hunt & Release Notes

Today I release episode 3 of the spoken word version of The Horde. You can find it here as part of the Headcast: or put into your podcatcher.

This episode contains one of my favorite passages in the book, one I had particular fun writing. It’s a little gruesome, a lot surreal, and required research into the basic structure of the human hand. It’s laced with vocabulary, metaphor, and lacy wafting curtains. I’m totally serious.

For this episode, I inaugurate the Horde scavenger hunt! Can you find the secret clue by fours hidden in Terry’s overwrought narrative? Email me with your best answers and the winner gets recognition, gloating rights, and high fives when next we meet. Here’s what the scavenger hunt list for in episode 3:

1. What is the name of the song Oren sings that Terry finds familiar?

2. Why did the girl’s power initially attract then repel Terry?

3. Who was shaking the snowglobe and how did they do it?

You may have to use your brains on this one but I assure you, all the information you need is available in the released episodes, the world you live in, or some combination of the two. Good luck!


*Spoilers Below*

A brief “story so far”in case you need it:

Bridan travels the dying world of Farrakan, seeking to destroy an evil force called the Horde. On Earth, Terry watches over Bridan in his dreams as his life falls to pieces around him.

Following their escape from the Darkling Hunter, Bridan has given Oren an explanation about why the Horde is after him. He may even have told the truth. On Earth, Terry takes a massive amount of sedatives so he can continue his vigil over the walker uninterrupted, abandoning all ties to our world even as the police continue investigating Tanya’s death.

Enjoy the episode!


Malaise, Dragon Age, & MTV’s The State: 4 ways to defeat distractions

Yo! It’s Patrick Scaffido raps!

If you don’t remember Yo! MTV Raps, you may not be hip to my latest obsession: the DVD release of sketch comedy known as The State. That and finally breaking out Dragon Age again to play through the ultimate edition are my rewards for finishing my second novel during Nanowrimo.

During Nanowrimo keeping up with releasing the Horde (now on chapter 17) was a bit of a challenge. My timeline features the uploading of chapter 17 by Wednesday and after a month long break I really want Chapter 17 to be a doozy or perhaps even a kick in the pants.

Chapter 17 currently features a berserker crazed beast person, one of my heroes taking off his shirt, and a major plot revelation regarding the nature of what a Darkling is but it just isn’t hitting me the way I’d like. Grr, I say.

I’m thinking longingly back to the emotional freakouts of Chapter 8 or the hate-mail inducing but ultimately awesome Chapter 12 and just think to myself, “Why the heck did I go with the musical production?” Self doubt, my friends. It’s a killer.

Self doubt combined with the magical powers of my Xbox and my DVD player, I am almost overwhelmed. “So Patrick,” you might ask, “how do you plan to rise above these circumstances that would paralyze a mortal man and even distract the great Hercules from his Herculean labors?”

I’d respond first by chuckling at your joke then say:

1. Ego. I’ve watched enough He-Man to know when coffee, inspiration, and cajoling by my girlfriend pretending to like my writing fails; the only thing I can fall back on is raising my stylus above my head and shouting “I have the power” much to the annoyance of my neighbors.

Seriously, though, I look at the numbers. I reread the positive comments. Sure, there are negative comments as well. Most of them have been, “I like your writing but what’s up with the musical bit?” I don’t reread the negative comments though. I don’t need to. They get replayed in my head enough, I don’t need to actually look at them.

2. Electricity. If necessary, once I go save my video game, I’m going to go unplug the DVD player, the Xbox, the tv, and the toaster (fire hazard) and get myself writing.

The only way to really remove the distractions is to remove the distractions. As long as the distractions are present, the writing and revision will not commence. Distractions must die cold nasty deaths at my hands.

3. There is no need of a 3. Go write. Go look at the masters of writing. Or go look at the future masters of writing who’ve traveled back in time from the future to teach you what they’ve learned. I’m thinking Nathan Lowell or Chuck Wendig since they say lots of stuff on the topic of getting words out.

They say: get words out.

They say: write.

They say: get words out and write. At the same time.

I say: If you can’t do that, write badly. It’s better than nothing at all. Also, you might get a neat nonsense poem you can perform in drag at your local open mic (great for meeting girls or boys, depending on your persuasion).

4. There is no 4 either. This article is over.

So, to apply these tips to yourself.

1. Ego. Have one. Build one. When you’re writing, you’re a mighty divine powerhouse of creation spilling words on paper like Yahweh spilling mud on planet Earth, turning the piles of dirt into people or cows or whatever.

You’re writing. You’re a writer. You’re a better writer than that guy who isn’t writing. That’s write, you just kicked George R. R. Martin’s tookus for taking so long on his latest book becaue you’re actually writing instead of spending your money on Pringles.

It’s possible you’re eating Pringles and writing at the same time. That’s ok. Because your’e writing. What’s not ok is eating the Pringles without the writing. Also, if you are eating chips of some kind, don’t forget to wipe your keyboard with a dry rag to remove the grease from the keys. That stuff can seriously mess up your computer. The more you know!

2. Turn off the distractions.

To define a distraction, use this simple test. Ask yourself: Is this (a)  helping me write or (b) distracting me from writing?

Anything that falls under part A gets to stick around, even if it looks weird. One night I was listening to Bonnie Raitt’s Have A Heart on repeat for six hours while singing along and dancing around the room every minute or so. I wrote six thousand words. This is a keeper.

Anything in category B should be dead to you while you’re writing. Common offenders are video games, movies, dvds, audiobooks, relatives, puppies, your mom, your face, your mom’s face, internet chat, and prewriting.

Beware! Many evil creatures disguise themselves as A but are actually B. I’m looking at you, special writing computer programs. You may trick me into thinking that looking up celebrity photos for main characters is writing but if we apply our simple test, it’s fairly clear that since we aren’t writing when we are matching Shania Twain to the protagonist of our Big Bang Theory fanfic, we aren’t actually writing!

During Nanowrimo, some write ins I’d spend most of the time socializing. Others I’d spend most of the time socializing AND writing at the same time. The bottom line was my word count leaving the write in. If I wrote, I kept going; no matter how much chatter was engaged in. I knew which write ins were “right” ins using the simple “was I writing” test.

Ignore your instincts. Follow the test. If it helps you write, keep it. If it distracts, discard it till you’re done for the day. Keep going till you’ve written to your goal.

If taking 30 second makeout breaks with your spouse every 15 minutes of writing is agreeable to both parties and encourages you to keep writing, this is a bonus.

If those 30 second breaks last 30 minutes to an hour, you may want to save them as a reward for when you’ve hit your goal. *wink wink nudge nudge* Maybe not. I don’t know. That’s for a marriage advice column, not a writing column.

3. Write.

4. Write. Yes, it’s that simple. Yes, it’s that complicated. Go get on it. If you don’t, I’ll hit you with this big stick on my next writing break.

❤ and other organs,

Patrick Scaffido