Wow. What a year its been. I’ve got to say that never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I’d be keeping a blog going all year long… two blog posts weekly. Sure I slipped off the track here and there but still managed to make up for it each time. I’m not that great with being consistent about weekly writings, so this was a big step for me. I had a wonderful year cooking many bizarre and sometimes wonderful dishes, expanding my culinary knowledge and having a few good laughs at the same time. Likewise, I also enjoyed discovering unique and inspiring music to branch out my creativity in my writing and sharing it with you all. I intend to continue both blogs into the new year along with a resolution to try and keep my promises of having Inspiration Through Music up on Mondays and now Cooking Adventures up every Friday.
In addition to the blog, I’ve also published my Kindle and paperback versions of Aequitas, a feat that has had me with my nose to the grindstone since two years ago. I learned more than I can ever imagine about self-publishing, self-marketing, and online marketing and am eager to learn more. I also had some inspiration for some wonderful projects that I hope to continue with into 2013. I joined both Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and the New England Horror Writers Association, both amazing groups to be a part of with being an author in Midcoast Maine. I organized my very first readings with the Camden and Rockland libraries, both of which were tons of fun. And let’s not forget the other awesome writer’s I’ve met this year.
I’d planned to have both my Cooking Adventure and my Inspiration Through Music up tonight for your viewing pleasure. Alas, I’ve been struck not only by a devilish headache but by the most sinister back ache imaginable… from shoveling snow yesterday morning. (I lifted with my back, not my legs. I know, I know. You’re not supposed to do that. I learned my lesson.) So we’ll be kicking off the new year tomorrow evening with both instead. My Cooking Adventure is in the oven as we speak, and the house smells wonderfully of gingerbread. Mmm-mmm!
To the rest of you, here’s hoping you have fantastic evenings and happy New Year’s celebrations! Looking forward to interacting with more of you in 2013!
It’s rare for me to find a soundtrack with that whimsical, magical quality. I immediately am reminded of an anime or a music box. Innocent little melodies that can carry a latent darkness in them, perhaps attached to memory but mostly are just piercing reminders to us of the good things in the world. I had the pleasure of recently being introduced to a little indie game called “To The Moon” made by Freebird Games. Another video game Let’s Player, Chaoticmonki, did a playthrough of this game which I watched over the course of a few days. You can find it here. By the end, I knew that I would be buying the soundtrack, composed by Kan R. Gao. You can find that here. It doesn’t happen often when you find a game that emotionally grips you, that tells a compelling story and illustrates hard decisions and even more devastating themes to do so. This game is a jewel. And the music in it is spellbinding, keeping you involved in these character’s struggles the further into the story you progress. Today, I’ll be sharing six songs from the soundtrack with you and some of the things that I imagine when I listen to them.
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COOKING ADVENTURE #50: TARDIS Gingerbread House
Let me make this clear: I thought this was going to be ridiculously easy, perhaps even easier than my pinstriped puffballs from last week. However… I was sorely wrong. Every single stage of this went wrong at some point. I wish I was kidding. The worst of it was actually assembling the damn thing. You need four hands to do it… like playing Fantasia in F minor for four hands! Unfortunately with it being a few days from Christmas and schedules being crazy, it wasn’t possible to get together with my friends to do this recipe. So, I found myself attempting it alone… and without any kind of alcohol to soothe me as the madness slowly descended on me. But with all due respect, the TARDIS probably shouldn’t be that easy to create. After all, the thing is a time machine and has some pretty amazing properties. Making a psuedo graham cracker-wannabe version was probably the most difficult thing I’d do this holiday season. But also the most epic.
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Little known fact: I really enjoy listening to jazz or blues in my off time. I especially like listening to it on Saturday night, because that’s my first night off from work. For me these genres of music just make me feel a little more home free, like it’s finally my time to relax and spend doing what I want to do. Most of the time, they relax me into the mood of writing and don’t necessarily inspire certain projects. However, there are always exceptions. Lou Rawls is one of those exceptions. I was introduced to Rawls music by his song ‘Nobody But Me’ on the soundtrack for What Women Want and it immediately became one of my favorites. I also discovered that he was the voice behind some of the music from the Garfield holiday specials that they used to air on television when I was a kid. Naturally, I spent a few years really listening to his music and enjoying the diversity in it. This week, I’ve selected five of his songs for you and have written about what it is that I see when I listen to them.
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COOKING ADVENTURE #49: Candy Cane Marshmallow Mug Treats
So, I may have grossly over-estimated how difficult this Cooking Adventure was going to be. It was originally supposed to be part of last week’s post, but because of finishing up Book 2, work, and Christmas parties, it was just too many things to try and do. However, if you are looking for a ridiculously simple and festive Christmas treat to make either with friends, kids, or even by yourself, I think you’ll enjoy this one very much.
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Tonight, I was planning on posting a Cooking Adventure for you. Had today been an ordinary, run-of-the-mill day I would have. Its all typed up and ready to post.
Today, however, wasn’t an ordinary day. Instead, it was a horrible one, one of the worst.
What has happened in Connecticut today has chilled me to the bone. I am so deeply saddened by the news of what happened to those poor children, those poor teachers…
What’s happened today makes me scared of the human race, of the fact that someone could be so selfish to take away all of those lives, especially at this time of the year, because of their inner pain, whatever it may have been caused by. The fact that this person needed to react violently and to do so towards innocent children, in a place that’s meant to be safe is unspeakably evil.
When I saw the mass of condolences and heartbreak that followed, I was reminded that in times of tragedy, we as people are still stronger together than apart. We can show great empathy and feel broken when someone we don’t even know has been hurt. It reminds me that there is still enough good in the world to at least push back at the evil that has been done.
Tonight, I only wish for a moment of silence for the 26 lives lost today. Prayers be with the families of those slain today. There can never be too many prayers said in the name of lost loved ones.
This Inspiration Through Music is a special one for me. Being a few days late with it, it had better be, right? I have a certain love for instrumental music (music without lyrics). To me, it is so much easier to get lost in the melody of an instrumental song because there aren’t any lyrics to distract you. You can interpret its meaning and the feeling it gives you so much easier without someone else telling their own story on top of it. I have an especially strong attachment to piano compositions. It would happen that one Christmas a few years ago, I was listening to a Pandora station of classical Christmas music. Lo and behold, an incredible version of Carol of the Bells (one of my favorite songs) came on, played by the masterful George Winston. I was so impressed and spellbound by his music that I immediately searched for his other songs. I was pleased to see that he had many, many others. Over the years, I’ve listened to plenty of them and have derived inspiration from them in various works of mine, a few in The Monstrum Chronicles. Because I had such a tough time choosing songs (because I love them all), I chose eight to share with you and the scenes I see when I listen to them. Enjoy!
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COOKING ADVENTURE #48: Starbucks Coffee Drinks
I’m not going to hide the fact that I’ve been a major slacker this week/last week. In fact, I’m putting it right in the title. I’ve almost got no excuse except for the fact that I’ve been trying to get Christmas gifts together and finish up the last of the editing for the physical copies of my second book… which I FINALLY finished about two hours ago. Wee! Now… back to blog work. This week, I decided to do something a little different, which is probably why it didn’t get written when it should have been. Usually, I’ll try to do my Cooking Adventures on Monday so that I can write about them before Thursday. However… last week, I had plans on Monday which kept me out of the house all day! And then I was off at work the next two days, leaving early in the morning. And lets face it, not many people want to come home and make some complicated coffee drinks. I know I hit the sack. And the marshmallows? Well, I’ve decided that I’m going to put that as this week’s Cooking Adventure because I just don’t have much time for anything else. Sorry. :p
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Just like the title says, expect this week’s Cooking Adventure to be up tomorrow evening. I was a moron and forgot to purchase one key ingredient for the recipe… and I can’t do it without it. Bahh! Also, I am currently coming up on the end of the last edits in Aequitas. I have roughly four more chapters to go and then we should be seeing some physical books! I’ll also be updating the Kindle version because, I’ll be honest, there were many mistakes that needed fixing.
Hopefully all of that fun book stuff will be coming at you next week! Stay tuned!
I’m going to be open and honest with you. It is my belief that some video games are works of art, call them interactive works of art. I’m picky about them in that they must have some form of a story or progression and that it is unique, the atmosphere must be gripping (including visuals and music), and that the gameplay should really make one think, make one deal with psychological puzzles and decisions. When I find such a game that I’m excited about, I’ll watch a playthrough or walkthrough on it on the mighty Youtube. Recently, I’ve been swept up in the hype that is Tell-Tale’s The Walking Dead game. Having released its final episode of the first season, the conclusion blew everyone away, including me. I cried. Hard. I wasn’t the only one. Nearly every major Let’s Player that I’ve seen has also ended the game bawling their eyes out. Adding to the heart-breaking moment was an emotionally driven song from an artist I’d never heard of before, Alela Diane. I quickly searched her on Spotify and folks, I now have a new favorite singer.
Alela Diane is an American singer/songwriter from Oregon. Most of her songs are soft indie pieces that really drill you in the heart. Her style reminds me of a fusion of Dido and Patty Griffin. When she sings, she even sounds at times like Sarah McLachlan (which is saying allot!) I’ve found that while listening to her, it’s very easy to get into the heads of characters needing (but not necessarily wanting) to make a change for their own survival. You sense that quiet desperation in Diane’s voice when she sings the following six songs that I’ve selected. I’ve been inspired to work on not only my apocalyptic novel, but also my western/horror series, and even parts of a historical fiction that I abandoned long ago! Below are a selection of songs by Alela Diane and what I’ve imagined when I listen to them.
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