Last Day of July Photo Contest… New August Photo Contest!

Well, folks, the title says it all. In the last month, I’ve had a grand total of 5 submissions for this photo contest. Not very many, you say?  Yes. I was hoping for just a few more. In light of this, I’ll be choosing a photograph from this batch as a winner but will not be using it as the cover photo for Book 3. The correct elements were just not present in all of these photographs. I’ll announce the winner next Sunday and they will still receive an Amazon gift certificate for $25 and a free copy of Books 1 and 2.

Now: why I’m not using any of the photos for my cover. There were 5 photos. 4 had boats in them, one had a spectacular sunset. Three of these photos featured foggy misty weather which wasn’t what I was looking for. Also, most of them were taken on the ocean instead of a lake or a pond. What I really want for this photograph is color. I’m not looking for a dark and unsettling photo like what I had used in the previous books. I want the photograph to exude a calmness. The rowboat came from also wanting someone to feel isolated when they looked at the photo.

The idea behind this dream cover photo is that a character used to go to this pond as a temporary refuge away from home. They spent many hours there because they felt safe there. And they were alone. No one else knew about this place.

So basically, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to start an August Photo Contest. If you have a photo of a sunset OR sunrise at a pond (or lake). Plain and simple. I don’t care if there’s a rowboat in the photograph. If there is one, great. But the water and the colors of sunset or sunrise are the important things. Here is an example of what I mean.

REMEMBER: calm water. I’d really prefer if the water was flat and calm as opposed to being choppy. NO OCEANS.

This contest will continue through August until the 19th! One photo per person.

Same rules still apply. Send the photo to with your name and a return email address. This photo must be unpublished and I need to be able to edit it for the cover.

Prizes: If a photograph meets the certain requirements, it will be picked as the cover for Memento Mori: Book 3 of The Monstrum Chronicles. The winner will also receive free copies of Vox, Aequitas, and Memento Mori (when it is available next year), as well as a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.

I’d also really appreciate it if you spread the word and told your friends. The more people who know about this contest; the better.




Inspiration Through Music: Bond

I’m a sucker for string instruments. I even tried to learn the violin, yet, sadly, that crashed and burned. I still love listening to it though, in classical as well as contemporary music. One of my utmost favorite bands has been Bond, an Australian/British string quartet who tend to mix classical compositions with a bit of pop music. Some of these songs are very high energy so they work well for action scenes while others are moody and sensual to slow down the pace and heat things up in another way.

I discovered them in high school and listened to their “Remixed” album while working on a project that was meant to be a prologue to my Prohibition-Era mystery novel (one that has unfortunately hasn’t seen the light of day in years.) Even though the time period was off, the music inspired my writing so well that I could literally see everything happening when I closed my eyes. When I’m propelled so easily by a musical artist like that, I am overjoyed. Bond has four full length albums out as well as several other compilations and singles. Today, I’ll be sharing 7 of my favorites with you and what they inspire me to write about.

Continue reading



There are several reasons why I don’t cook hot foods. I don’t mean “hot” as in temperature. I mean spicy. I like it in some things when I go out to eat but whenever I try to make something from home, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Now, I’ve made several Cajun and Indian dishes over the past year that have been pretty mild compared to this Kavarma, the smell of which is like inhaling a bottle of paprika… literally. Not only does it have a ridiculous amount of the red spice in it, it also requires the use of a hot pepper. Having never cooked with hot peppers before, I didn’t take necessary safety precautions. Due to the length of cooking time, the taste, and the agony I went through to undergo this cooking adventure, I’ve given my outcome of this recipe a new name: liquid hell.

Continue reading

Weekly Update…N’Stuff

Good morning, readers!

It’s been a while since I’ve given you all an update so I figured it was about time!

First off, the July photo cover contest for Book 3 ends in less than a week! If you are harboring a photo of a rowboat, please send it in! There are some pretty fun prizes and your photo will be used on the cover of Memento Mori: Book 3 of The Monstrum Chronicles! Details are in the link here:

Next: I’ve finished writing Acquolina, which is my first short story in the promotion of Aequitas: Book 2 of The Monstrum Chronicles. I’ll be releasing two short stories that pertain to the events of the novel ahead of time so that readers can have some fun background information of certain characters! Acquolina tells the story of a naive young lilitu (vampire) being torn in two different avenues of freedom from her oppressive future, neither one better than the other, but the lure of both too intoxicating to resist. I’ll be editing this during the next few weeks and hopefully will have it up for August 14th!

The second short story, Tulip, will be released in September, although I’m not sure if I’ll make the September 10th release date that I’d set on that.

In addition to all of this fun craziness, I’m still editing and doing lay-out for Aequitas. I just recently got a new laptop and my, oh, my… I love this thing. I’ve been using Microsoft Word 7 for the last five years and have just updated to 10. This is the best word processing program I’ve ever used!!! (And yes, it is deserving of three exclamation points.) I’ve been able to do the lay-out for this so much easier than I would have with my old program. I’m hoping to have all of the editing done in the next couple weeks, finish up the lay-out in mid-August, and get the back cover, synopsis, and other kagatha done in September in time for the October 4th release date!

I’ve also may have a potential book signing with the Rockport Public Library, whom I’ve talked with briefly about it.

And speaking of libraries, I’m also hard at work on organizing a Halloween Reading event with both Camden Public and Rockland Public Libraries for late October. I’ve already contacted both representatives and have locked in the dates. I have about 4 people each night, so I’m pretty satisfied. This is my first time organizing an event so I’m hoping I don’t stumble over myself trying to get everything prepared.

Hmmm… what else? I’ve been working on a couple of other projects here and there (the thromance novel, Night Time, Dotted LineMemento Mori…etc.) and I’ve got a brand spanking new idea for an apocalyptic novel from watching Jumanji. (Go figure.)

In real life? Well, I’m working a lot. A LOT. I’ve been having some car issues with poor Izze (my red Kia) and have also been dealing with neck and shoulder issues. Crazy stuff. But then again, it’s been kind of a crazy summer. I actually can’t wait until fall when things calm down a bit work wise and things will start getting busier with my writing. Plus, I love the season!

Well, I’d best start getting ready for work. Stay tuned for my Cooking Adventures blog tomorrow where I’ll be sharing with you my weird attempt at Karvara.


Inspiration Through Music: Florence and The Machine

There are some musicians that you get inspiration from no matter what song of theirs you are listening to. All of their lyrics and sounds seem to have the right amount of emotion and spirit in them that just opens up something inside of you and makes you want to create. I have a list of 10 favorite musicians that I constantly refer to when I’m in dire need of inspiration no matter what project I’m working on. On this list is Florence and The Machine. The first song I heard by them was “Heavy In Your Arms” and ever since that blessed day, I’ve collected and listened to their music with a rabid hunger for inspiration.

I’ve mentioned before in another blog that I love it when a musical artist and a writing project can mesh together as one so that most anything that musician has sung or created works perfectly with your story. This is the case for Florence and the Machine and The Monstrum Chronicles. Several of her songs have been inspirations for different scenes in the later books of the series. But what’s also refreshing is that her songs are so varied that I can use them as inspiration for other projects as well, namely projects not in the horror/paranormal genre. Florence has a refreshing, clear, and bright voice that just automatically kick starts my writing no matter the project. Today, I’ll be sharing 6 of her songs and talking about what I see when I listen to them.

Continue reading

Pecan Goo-Pie


Some of you will find this hilarious. Somewhere between my Flourless Lemon Cake and my Chicken Tikka Marsala, I managed to completely mess up my numbers on my Cooking Adventures. I was at 16 and then miraculously ended up down at 13 again in the next post. I’ve gone back and edited the numbers so that they are correct. I’m on my 29th Cooking Adventure and it feels kind of crazy. You know why? Because after all of that cooking and baking, I still can’t make a pie. Just one freaking pie. I don’t care what kind it is, I have the damn-dest time making one. And pecan pie, which I considered to be pretty easy based on the recipe from the Joy of Cooking, was supposed to be my redeeming attempt. With a bit of elbow grease and the assistance of a freezer, it was… kind of.

Continue reading

Inspiration Through Music: Dario Marianelli

Writing romance has never been my forte. I’ll admit I’ve attempted it in the past and it never or very rarely comes out as sounding believable. One of my first novels had quite a bit of romance in it but of course it didn’t make any sense. Allot of it probably comes from the fact that I was sixteen and had absolutely no idea what I was writing about. Since then, I’ve become more interested in period romances, pieces that go back in time. I honestly can’t get into contemporary romance and, though I’ve tried my hand at paranormal romance, I find I’m not as skilled at that as I’d like to be. Instead, as of late, I’ve found my interest in writing a WWI era novella that I’ve dubbed the “thromance”. It’s a thriller/romance piece. I thought of the idea several months ago and haven’t had any time to work on it. I’m really hoping that I can get a chance to this winter after “Aequitas” has been published. However, I always get inspiration for it when I listen to any of the music by Dario Marianelli.

Dario Marianelli is a film score composer who has a knack for working on several romantic period pieces as well as a few war driven films as well. The first score of his that I purchased was the one for the latest Jane Eyre in 2011. I absolutely adore that film. Not only are the actors outstanding, the script is crisp, the cinematography is fresh, and the music? Well, the music had me enraptured the entire way through the movie. After purchasing that soundtrack, I became curious of Marianelli’s other works, and searched his history for the list of the other films he’d worked on. I was happy to find V for Vendetta, as well as Atonement, and Pride and Prejudice. Of course, there were many others. But for me these four films were the ones that really inspired my writing. And most of it inspires scenes for my thromance piece. Today, I’ll be sharing 8 songs with you.

Continue reading

July Photo Contest: Take 2

Good evening, all!

Just wanted to shout out a reminder that I have a photo contest going on right now! Enter your photograph of a rowboat on a pond (preferably at either dawn or sunset) and your photo could be chosen for the cover of Memento Mori: Book 3 of The Monstrum Chronicles!

I’ve had only a few submissions so far and a few people who have said they will dig through old photos to see if they could find something. We’re already halfway through the month, though, so time is running out! If you have a photo, please send it in. If you’re not much of a photographer, please share this contest with any friends or family members who like to take pictures.

Winners will not only have their photos used and credit given inside the book, they will also win free copies of Vox: Book 1 of The Monstrum Chronicles and Aequitas: Book 2 of The Monstrum Chronicles (when it releases in October). You also win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon. Lots of free stuff for one photograph. I say that’s pretty sweet.

Here’s a link to the official rules and regulations!

Remember, all entries must be in by July 31st at midnight. I’ll be judging them that weekend and making my decision August 4th!

Now I’m also attaching a link to a videoclip from the game “Cry of Fear”. It’s this particular scene which has inspired the cover idea for Memento Mori, so I think it’s good that I share it with you. Maybe some of you will be inspired by it. Take a look here.

Stay tuned for my Inspiration Through Music blog on Monday. Until then, have a great weekend!


Nan, I Kneed You!

COOKING ADVENTURE #28: Chicken Nan Pockets

Not going to lie; these Cooking Adventures can be a lot of work. And the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling pretty weak. I thought about getting back into a weekly kickboxing schedule to start building back my strength and just to get more exercise. Well, folks, I’ve found a solution… make Nan. I’m not kidding. My arms are sore. I could imagine just hoisting up a hunk of that bread dough from a chain in the ceiling and then just wailing on it. Or just kneeding it for a straight 10 minutes like the directions say you need to do. Holy moley, by the time I was done, I wanted a beer and a nap. Krikey.

Continue reading

Inspiration Through Music: Heavy Rain Soundtrack

There are probably five soundtracks that I own that I listen to for every project that I work on. As I’ve probably already alluded to you, the first is almost always ‘A Beautiful Mind’ by James Horner. Almost tying it, however, is most definitely the deep and dark score written by Normund Corbeil for the PS3 game, “Heavy Rain.” The songs are so passionate, emotive, and psychological, that I find myself rushing back to them whenever I’m in need of just the right track for a certain scene.

“Heavy Rain” was released in 2010 by the company Quantic Dream. The game is more of a playable story in which the player makes decisions in dialogue and action that eventually affect the outcome of the game. This game is the reason that I bought a Playstation 3. The only reason. I consider this game to be one of the best out there for characterization and storytelling. And the music of course, blew me away the first time I heard it. I had to get the soundtrack for it. And now, I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have it for my writing. Below, I’ve selected 8 tracks to discuss with you today.

Continue reading