Horror-FAIL Friday: My OLD Writing – Station Twelve Part 2

old writing

Welcome back to the next entry in my latest OLD Writing segment for Horror-FAIL Friday. Last week, we began a new and terrifyingly terrible tale featuring Jay Russel, a work-a-holic secret agent who is going on his first vacation in seven years. Of all the places he’s decided to venture, he chooses the majestic and plainly named Snow Inn in Vermont and goes there along with gal pal, Alice, who is, so far, the most obnoxious female character I’ve ever written. After climbing three floors and hefting enough luggage to last them a year, they find their luxurious hotel room where they decide to immediately fall asleep. And now let’s return and begin a new day with our pathetic protagonists…

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The Old Pecan and the Sea Literary Cooking Adventure

Once again, we return to the kitchen in a brilliant effort to create another pie. This time, I attempted to tackle the very precarious Butterscotch Pecan Pie. I had some trouble the last time I attempted one several years ago and it almost turned to goo before I froze it, capturing its saccharine essence in solid form. I was hoping that this pecan pie would be a bit easier provided my extensive and disastrous history. I was proven wrong.

As with the banana cream pie, the pie crust decided to be the most obnoxious part of this Cooking Adventure. I had to roll out, shape, pin-prick, and bake 2 in order for it to work. There are apparently very detailed steps one must follow in order to get the perfect pie crust including thawing, unrolling, pressing, pricking, chilling, weighting, and baking…and I didn’t follow them for shit. Sorry, but all of that kagatha just to pre-bake a pie crust seems ridiculous. I should have just done it. Maybe then I wouldn’t have ended up with something that looks like it was made out of sand.

The other thing that really set me off was my inability to open the bag of pecans. I wish I was joking. There’s a segment in the bloopers where I struggle with the bag of pecans for almost a full two minutes before succumbing to rage and hacking it open with a pair of scissors. Then, I couldn’t open the bag of butterscotch chips. It wasn’t my day.

As a tribute to Hemingway’s classic novel, I decided to take a break and cast a line, hoping to hook something good. Instead, I managed to capture the rare but ferocious Lemon Jelly, a cat with an insatiable appetite and primal rage.

Interested in the recipe for this disastrous pie leviathan? Scroll down and behold!

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Inspiration Through Music: Arvo Pärt

(image borrowed from Orthodox Arts Journal)

In my opinion, the most moving of music is always the music that contains no lyrics. Unless they are vague, lyrics tend to force a certain set of images into one’s mind when listening to a song. They set a theme, they set a story, and a character and really put walls up. They box in your ideas for what this song could be about and who it’s written for. Instrumental music is freer. There’s no male or female vocalist, there is no particular story being told other than the one the instruments tell, and you can feel anything from pain to pleasure as you listen. While I’ve had inspiration from a handful of songs with lyrics while working on books, I primarily listen to instrumental, soundtrack, or ambient music and can dive into a story so much deeper this way. As of late while working on my apocalyptic novel, The Wild Dark, I have fallen in love with a particular composer who I had not had the pleasure of listening to before: the wonderful Arvo Pärt.

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Horror-FAIL Friday: My OLD Writing – NEW STORY!

Old Writing

Welcome back to another episode of My OLD Writing here on Horror-FAIL Friday. This time, I have a real doozy for you. While sorting through a box of old writing projects, I came across one that I wrote for school in 7th grade. So… as far as horrible quality goes, it predates the other two stories that I shared with you and should make for some pretty entertaining reading material. If you’re unfamiliar with the OLD Writing series, here’s what happens. I share a section of a story and provide recent comments/observations in brackets alongside. Here’s the premise of our new old story…

Our protagonist, Jay Russel, who doesn’t seem to be the brightest crayon in the box, is taking a much needed vacation in Canada. He comes across a nefarious plot involving a radio tower on a precarious mountain top and must place himself in danger to uncover what’s happening. Yeah. That’s honestly all I remember. I haven’t pre-read this so all of my reactions below will be genuine. Here we go…

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Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back Into The Watermelon…



Yes. I realize that Shark Week was indeed last week. Do I care? Not really.

Last week, I held my third annual Shark Week Party complete with bloody chum-like cocktails, shark-shaped cookies, Goldfish, Sharknado 2, and of course, the Sharktermelon.

Every year so far I’ve carved a shark out of a watermelon following steps that I’ve found on line. This year’s attempt was sadly done in haste as I had run out of time to do it. Nevertheless, it came out looking ten times better than last years, which looked more like a Critter than a shark.

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Inspiration Through Music: Jeremy De Tolly

Two by Jeremy De Tolly

“I made coffee, watching it dribble from the filter down into the glass pot. I went weeks without it. I craved it. I cried and fought through headaches, wanting it, needing it. It reminded me of Brody, of our morning ritual; it was the intangible piece of him that I had, that I held dear. Something as stupid and as simple as savoring that cup of black coffee was the means to bring him to life again, if only for a half a second.” – “The Wild Dark”, my work-in-progress.


Fair-Shell And Adieu To You Fair Spanish Ladies!



As it is Shark Week and one of my favorite films/novels is Jaws by Peter Benchley, I thought it would be fun to not only do a video Cooking Adventure, but also a traditional written account of another dish. Therefore, last night after a long day of work, I put my nose to the grindstone and decided to make a recipe that I’ve had my eye on for some time: Mussels in Garlic White Wine Sauce. Yes… It is as good as it sounds. It should be known that since I have a fear of killing crustaceans/living creatures in the pursuit of cooking, I decided to use frozen mussels. They were still in their shells, in air-tight plastic wrap and were just as good as live ones. I also didn’t have to do any de-bearding or washing which is a plus when you work until late and don’t want to do all of that. I suppose it’s cheating but…I don’t really care.

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Jaws: You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Float Literary Cooking Adventure

Shark Week is finally here! This is one of my all-time favorite weeks of the year where we get to celebrate anything and everything SHARK! For this week’s Literary Cooking Adventure, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show tribute to one of my favorite books/films, Jaws by Peter Benchley.

I decided to do a combination of ice cream float recipes for the summer heat, something sweet and lovely and rather simple. The first one is the classic Root beer Float (which I meant to add a shot of Kahlua to and forgot) and the second is Affogato, an Italian dessert of coffee poured over ice cream with salted caramel on top. Yum! Even I managed to mess up very little this time.

Of course that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t in danger. Mini Bruce, the Great White Stuffed Shark, was patrolling the neighborhood and came to visit the kitchen. This was much to the surprise of Chief Brody, Hooper, and Quint who had all come to help with the float making.

Below are the very simple directions for how to make these two floats. Enjoy!

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Guess what? I’m going to write a shark novel!

Photo courtesy of NEFSC/NOAA

Photo courtesy of NEFSC/NOAA

It is no secret that I have a love for Shark Week and, well, sharks in general. I’ve always found them to be fascinating creatures. Despite several of them appearing frightening and the stories that you hear on the news, they are only acting as animals act. There is no brutality specifically directed toward humans, and nothing evil about them. To quote Richard Dreyfuss’s character in “Jaws”, all they do “is swim, and eat, and make little sharks.” But that’s really the nature of any creature: self-sustainability, preservation, and survival. Sharks have evolved from creatures that used to live in the upwards of 420 million years ago. There has to be some respect towards an animal that has managed to survive and adapt in its environment over such a long period of time.

As a kid, I was always reading about sharks, and crocodiles, and wolves… I had some strange fascination with these apex predators which may or may not have influenced my writing in the dark/horror genre years later. I grew up reading Crichton’s Jurassic Park and watching Speilberg’s adaption of Benchley’s “Jaws”. And for years, I’ve wanted to be able to write my own “creature feature” book. With time, I’ve come to realize that both of these books treated the animals with a level of reverence and didn’t make them out to be just monsters. It’s the mistakes of humans, whether it be tampering with genetic engineering or placing oneself in the feeding territory of the animal, that caused the events to perpetuate. And so, I have silently for about a year, been working on an idea to write my own shark novel.

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Port-Con Recap


(Pictured from left to right: Top; Scott Goudsward, Peter Dudar, Josiah Pitchforth, and Duane E. Coffill. Bottom: Dale Phillips, Katherine Silva)

This past weekend, I battled hordes of cosplaying people and visited Port-Con, an annual convention celebrating geek culture in South Portland. This was my second time doing an event like this and so naturally, I was a little nervous about some things going in. For one, I was pretty sure that some of the costumes I saw, I wouldn’t be able to unsee (I’m referring to you, man in the pink spandex suit). Some were outrageous, some were super cool, and some were unidentifiable for me. There were lots of anime characters at this con, which is one of the areas I’m not too versed on. I was able to recognize some video game characters here and there and some obvious Doctor Who impersonators (of which there were many). Didn’t see any Harry Potter which struck me as odd, though.

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