That’s right! For all of you living, visiting, or passing through the Portland, Maine area, be sure to swing in to the Double Tree Hotel across from the Maine Mall and check out this celebration of Maine’s geek culture. Basically…anyone who loves anime, comic books, superheroes, horror, Doctor Who, video games and various other things will be THRILLED.
I was lucky enough to join some of my fantastic New England Horror Writers colleagues this weekend as we present at a few panels and have our books for sale at the show. I’m joined by Scott Goudsward, Peter Dudar, Dale Philips, Josiah Pitchforth, and Duane E. Coffil. I’m looking forward to checking out some of the other panels being offered (one of which is about world building) and also looking forward to spending some much needed time promoting my latest release, “Memento Mori: Book 3 of the Monstrum Chronicles”.
We’ll be doing 3 panels over the weekend, one each day.
Friday 2 pm: The Basics of Getting Published
Saturday 2 pm: The Pros and Cons of Writer’s Groups (I’m in this one!)
Sunday 3 pm: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing (I’m also in this one!)
Check out the Port-Con website for more information about the event, when to catch our panels, and where you can find our table in the Artist Alley!
Warning: This video does contain a plethora of adult language in the bloopers. This is probably the most aggravating Cooking Adventure I’ve ever attempted. And while it looks as though it came out all right at the end of the video, I can assure you that it did not…
Banana Cream Pie: it’s really not that easy to make at all. It’s been something I’ve always wanted to try and because I’d just bought a ton of bananas, I figured I’d give it a shot. I was feeling a bit sentimental about a book series I used to read as a kid called “Animorphs” by K.A. Applegate. The story revolved around a group of kids who were endowed with special animal morphing abilities and tasked with saving the planet from an alien race called the Yeerk. I decided the series would be the theme of this particular Cooking Adventure.
Music can rejuvenate. When you are feeling at your most tired, lonely, or sad, it can have the power to bring you back out of it, to lift you back on your feet and push you forward. As it has been raining a ridiculous amount this past week, I’ve fallen into that funk that affects you when you haven’t seen the sun in a while. I haven’t wanted to write or really work on anything. And now that the sun is out, I’m finding it very hard to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Thankfully, I’ve found a musical artist who can infuse me with that much needed dose of “You’re a bad ass. You can do this and then, have your fun.” That’s right. That musical remedy is none other than Blackmill, aka Robert J. Card.
Card is a twenty-something musician from the UK who has been producing music since he got an acoustic guitar for his eighth birthday–according to Blackmill’s official Facebook page. Blackmill is a more recent project of his, a blissful combination of dubstep and dance swirled with calm and speckled with house beats. I’m not entirely sure when I heard Blackmill for the first time, but I know it was while working on my latest book, “Memento Mori” and that the song “Evil Beauty” has been a major inspiration in that and other projects. There is just something about those melodic beats that makes it easier to concentrate, to push aside distractions both mental and physical (I’m looking at you, dirty dishes!) and sink into a story. Today, I’ll be sharing a couple of Blackmill’s tunes with you and describing what I see when I listen to them. Enjoy!
[Click on the photo above to watch HarshlyCritical’s playthrough]
Jeff the Killer strikes again. And this time, it may kill you…with laughter.
HarshlyCritical recently played a short, very incomplete, nonsensical indie game simply entitled “Jeff”. Surrounded by stock environments, he sets out as a weird businessman character, who has just bought a new house, apparently the same house where Jeff the Killer murdered everyone according to Creepypasta lore. The house has some of the ugliest wallpaper known to man, is missing its ceiling in several rooms (allowing the character to warp through it to get from one floor to the next), while its doors are the size of bulldozers and don’t actually touch the walls. Inside, while exploring, HC encounters Jeff, who is often purported to be totally insane, for lack of a better description, This is due to some childhood bullying and then a random decision to execute his own family members because his “insanity is over everything”.
The story differs a little in this game, introducing the strangest character I’ve ever seen; Ed, a bald practically albino man dressed in a monk’s cloak who speaks with an accent that is part Billy Ray Cyrus and part Max Von Sydow. While the protagonist and this Southern brother of peace begin a conversation, it slowly turns into one of the most confusing and funniest things I’ve ever seen in a game. And that’s when we absolutely lose it. The combination of lazy environments, horrible plot, bad voice-acting, and ridiculous game mechanics is too much for a sane person to handle. Even HC breaks down, which means this really is a game for the ages.
For those of you who have been waiting for it, my 3rd book in the Monstrum Chronicles, Memento Mori, is now available for paperback purchase. You can find copies at Amazon for sale. If you would prefer to buy a copy directly from me or you would like a signed copy, please send me an email at email@example.com. I’d be happy to personalize a message for you inside.
*I’ve decided to do something new for Inspiration Through Music Mondays. Instead of focusing on one musician and several tracks by them, I’m going to be focusing on one song per episode. It narrows the focus of the post and is easier for me to concentrate on it alone. I can concoct better scenes and more fantastical worlds when I’m not over-stimulated by multiple tracks.*
I’ve been working on The Wild Dark for a couple years now under various other titles. It’s premise is an apocalyptic character driven story of survival, acceptance, and perseverance. It has a very similar feeling to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, combined with elements of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, and the 1990 romantic fantasy film Ghost. It’s a strange but wonderful combination which I’ve been having lots of fun writing. Over the next several months, I’ll be sharing songs with you that have been inspiring me as I write, what about them triggers my imagination. It’s also a way for you as the reader (and possibly fellow writer) to discover music you may not be familiar with and possibly be inspired yourself.
The majority of the book takes place in the forest, where wildlife is unpredictable, the weather is harsh, and there is no one around except for the ghost of the protagonist’s friend. Grappling with the acceptance of his demise, of his reappearance, and the status quo of the world around her has driven her to a state of frostiness, of distrust, and utter confusion. She doesn’t recognize the world the way she once did. The song taps into the beauty and unreliability of her surroundings. It also forces her to look inside herself and recognize the pain and longing she feels for her dead friend. This subtle piece, guided by a lone cello, really hits home and helps me get inside the character’s head, helps me understand all the loneliness she is feeling. In addition to that desolation, there’s a thread of hope that things can change, that there is a way to set it right. Sieber’s music translates these two feelings beautifully and interweaves them into a gorgeous piece that I’ve listened to several times while working on this story.
Interested in learning more about Jamie Sieber and her music? You can find her official website here.
Stay tuned for next week’s Inspiration Through Music!
Welcome back to the final episode of My OLD Writing on Horror-FAIL Friday. It is a sad and yet joyous day because this turd of a story that I wrote over 12 years ago is finally coming to a close. Be it known that it does not have a resolution; my younger self gave up on it, hopefully because I realized that the idea was stupid and moved on to other projects (probably equally as awful). Here’s what we know…
At an up and up photography school in California, Lila Pullman has become strangely obsessed with her biology teacher, Mr. McFadden. McFadden is mysterious in the way that he doesn’t appreciate the function of curtains or watches, thinks that clouds are a topic fit to teach in biology, and frequently consumes chocolate chip cookies and apple pie together. Oh, and he seems to have some kind of strange astral projection power which causes him to spontaneously bleed. Lila goes to his house to further her investigation which leads to weird flirtation and the question of where Lila grows all of her zillions of tomatoes in the dorm. After becoming lost on the way home like a child in the grocery store, her coddling parent-friends Benny and Samus find her. Samus, a man named after a fictional female Nintendo character, also seems to be having some problems with astral projection; namely that he’s flashing back to when his high school friend, Ross, was randomly murdered during a romantic rendezvous with the moon and some candy bars. Let’s see what we can glean from this last, oh so terrible chapter…
Welcome to the Frost World of Jurassic Park! That’s right; this week in celebration of the release of Jurassic World, I decided to do a Jurassic Park themed Cooking Adventure. Michael Crichton is my favorite author and his books are some of the ones that inspired me to start writing in the action/adventure genre.
Welcome back to Horror-FAIL Friday’s My OLD Writing. This is a series which catalogs some of the awful writing I did as a weird teen (often works of fantasy, sci-fi, or horror). I share a piece each week (complete with spelling and grammatical errors), comment on some of the dumb things written, and often include a bit of visual comedy to get my point across. It should be noted that I don’t remember half of this stuff that I wrote and having not looked at it in over ten years, I’ve found myself in complete shock, embarrassment, and, often, in stitches because of it. It’s just too good not to share.
In the current story, we’ve been following sophomore Lila Pullman on her quest to figure out just what the deal is with her mysterious science professor, Mr. McFadden. Witnessing him have an episode of some kind while trying to teach them about CLOUD FORMATIONS in a biology class, she goes to his home in order to dig up some more information. This results in the strangest flirtation scene ever written (unless you include anything from 50 Shades of Grey), and establishes the fact that McFadden is the most incompetent liar in the world. Let’s also throw in the fact that she’s his STUDENT. In a side story, Lila’s best friend, Samus, has also experienced flashbacks to the night his friend, Ross, was murdered. Although he was never there. Or was he? Is Samus a sleepwalking fiend? Or just an overly-anxious conspiracy wing-nut who thinks that McFadden is more than he seems. Let’s join our pathetic protagonists.
I had to obey my inner voice this week. It told me that I had a craving for eggplant (probably the first time that’s ever happened) and that I should find a scrumptious recipe to tackle for this week’s Literary Cooking Adventure. As such, I found a terrific one for some Eggplant Parmesan Boats, which were relatively easy to make and tasted SO GOOD!
Alas, the gift of obeying does not come without its share of frustration, as protagonist Ella found out in Gail Carson Levine’s “Ella Enchanted”. Renegade eggplant escapees, a dastardly onion that refused to be cut, and a pretty bad breakdown while trying to film the intro to the video are only a few of the things that went wrong.
Want to make this spectacular dish for yourself? BEHOLD! Scroll down to find the ingredients and directions!