Kat’s 2022 in Review and 2023 Resolutions

Here we are: the last week of 2022. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with this last week. This time feels like entering a fugue state where I’m not sure what day it is, whether its morning or night, there’s never enough time to get anything done and then, I’m also sitting there doing nothing for what feels like far too long.

That being said, I’ve decided to throw down my end of year lists now because, let’s face it: I’m not going to finish any more books this week while looking down the barrel of retail demise (basically being at work all the damn time).

So, let’s start with the most pertinent thing first: books.

This was probably my most prolific year as an independent publisher and author. Not only did I re-release three full length novels and a short story (VOX, AEQUITAS, MEMENTO MORI & ACQUOLINA respectively) with newly designed covers, new interior layout, and updated added material, I also wrote and released three short novelettes (ORCHARDS, HALLOWED OBLIVION, & DAN & ANDY’S SCARY-OKE HOLIDAY). I also had the most productive sales year in my history of being an author, went to more shows this year than ever, expanded my reach on every social media platform I have a presence on, and somehow, didn’t manage to spontaneously combust along the way.

End of year stats as of today are:

Facebook Page: 560 likes

Instagram: 1,077 followers

Twitter: 2,530 followers

TikTok: 706 followers, 3500 likes

Email subscribers: 85

Really, really pleased with these numbers.

Also something to low-key celebrate: HALLOWED OBLIVION may be on a certain recommended reading list for a certain horror-oriented award. Never achieved something like this before and though I recognize that it is far from being considered for said award, I’m still proud of myself for hustling and getting the reach on that story that I did.

For anyone who found me this year and followed me, thanks a bunch. For those who read my stuff, thank you. For those who reviewed and recommended to others, thank you! Can’t wait to see what 2023 brings in for the growth of Strange Wilds Press and myself.


I had hoped to read 25+ books this year but I only got to 19. That being said, the majority of books I read really inspired me to follow my perpetuity for the weird and wonderful. A few of them even scared me or moved me so much that they’ve got me wanting to go back to read them again soon. Here are the top 4:

Other recommended reads are: We Are Here to Hurt Each Other by Paula Ashe, Crossroads by Laurel Hightower, The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward, Beguiled By Night by Nicole Eigener, The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper, Abode by Morgan Sylvia, and Waif by Samantha Kolesnik.


I watched a lot of horror films and television this year, trying to stay current with what was trending on streaming and what people had watched in my social circles. There are a few things I definitely fell in love with, things that I will happily watch again and again (and some that I’m good with never watching again). Let’s start with my favorites:

FILM (Horror)

  • The Black Phone (2022)
  • NOPE (2022)
  • Krampus (2015)
  • It Follows (2014)
  • The Ritual (2017)
  • Hellraiser (2022)

Film (Other)

  • Lou (2022)
  • Glass Onion (2022)
  • Underwater (2020)
  • Gunpowder Milkshake (2022)
  • Beast (2022)
  • Encanto (2021)
  • Rise of The Guardians (2012)

TV (Horror)

  • Archive 81 (2022)
  • Love, Death, & Robots: Season 3 (favorite was The Very Pulse of the Machine) (2022)
  • What We Do In The Shadows (Season 3)
  • Stranger Things: Season 4 (2022)
  • Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities (favorite was The Viewing) (2022)
  • Little Demon (2022)
  • Wednesday (2022)

TV (Other)

  • Andor (2022)
  • Hot Date (2017-2019)
  • The Great North Season 2 (2022)
  • The Great British Baking Show
  • I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson (2022)
  • Kim’s Convenience (Seasons 1 & 2)


This is music that really inspired me and/or I felt moved me in some way. Not much rhyme or reason to it.

  • Wolf Like Me by Lera Lynn
  • The Chain by Fleetwood Mac
  • And You Evade Him/Born in the Blood by Joshua Burnside
  • Tape Cleaning by Ben Salisbury & Geoff Burrow from the Archive 81 Soundtrack
  • Mercury Immersion by Resina
  • Play Out by Zola Blood
  • Sabotage by The Beastie Boys
  • Ou aller by GIMS
  • Gold Dust Woman by Fleetwood Mac
  • Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush

2023 Resolutions and Goals

As ever, I’d really like to keep growing as a writer and an author, expand my reach, meet more people, and get my books into more readers’ hands. That being said: I would like to do it smarter. I over-extended myself in many ways this year which in the end, has caught up with me.

  • Self-care: This is my biggest resolution and, kind of, the only one that matters. The number of times I’ve been sick, injured, or too mentally exhausted to do work, events, hang with friends or family, etc. is inexcusable. I also find myself unhappy with how I’ve taken care of my body this year. In 2023, my goal is to get on a regular exercise program to help retrain my muscles and rehab them. My neck and shoulders are in the worst state of my life and account for the majority of my downtime. Not only do I need to be more attentive to my muscles, I also need to give myself more time to relax, sleep, and recharge. I have a habit of constantly overloading myself with too many things. The Hustle is a necessary part of the self-publishing job but I’d like to treat myself to a better regimen of self-care than previous years.
  • Scheduling: A lot of my stress and over-working is due to the fact that I am terrible with scheduling things. I was better about it in 2021 and have fallen off the wayside of preparing myself for the week. I find myself scrambling to get posts done in the morning, barely having time to get ready for work, and then coming home at night exhausted but pushing myself to get more done. I need to look at the time I have available for myself and treat it with better care. This also includes making plans for writing projects and sticking to them accordingly.
  • Drink More Water: Sure, I could include this under self-care but it needs its own bullet mark. It’s bad. I’m bad at it. I think my body is made of coffee instead of water.
  • Experiment with Language, Form, and Rhythm in Writing: As I said in the opening paragraph, I’d really like to grow as a writer and that means not only doing more of it, but also studying others. That means reading more, experimenting more, and sharing more with others for feedback.
  • Workshop with more writers: Part of the last bullet but also a little different. There is so much that can be gleaned from others in the book world and I’d love the opportunity to learn from so many. I’d absolutely love to go to a few writing workshops as well as sit down with other writers in my home state and talk shop with them. I’d also like to build on the relationships I currently have with so many wonderful people in the horror community.
  • Release one novel and two novelettes in 2023: The Wild Fall: Book 2 of The Wild Oblivion is due to release next year. I’d also really like to release a second Dan & Andy novelette and possibly another project unrelated to The Wild Oblivion. My job is to get myself organized and in shape to make sure those releases are successful and have a wide reach.
  • Do at least 3 large events next year: This past year, I ended up doing a smattering of events and had a great sales year. In addition to Author-Con II, I’d really like to get in on two other horror writing events to showcase my work and perhaps grow my reach. Since I’ll also be releasing a book next year, I think it’s important to cover all my bases and try to coordinate local book-signings, digital events, and readings as well. I have an interest in NECON (which I missed last year) and MVHBF (which is a very difficult show to get in on).
  • Bake more!: Baking is a passion. Being in the kitchen is soothing and enjoyable. I’d like to expand my horizons and try out recipes I’m not familiar with.
  • Take care of my home: Those of you who own homes know how difficult it is to pay attention to them. I’ve done a poor job of giving my home that attention this year. I’m looking forward to spending some time with it and getting to some of the many items on my list.

Well, I think that oughta do it. For those who made 2022 special, thank you so much. Here’s to 2023: may it be a year for making dreams come true.

Happy New Year!



My Top 10 Songs in 2020

Long time followers of the blog know that music is my gateway drug to creativity. In the past, I’ve posted a top ten list of favorite soundtracks for video games that were released during the year. Since I’ve been out of touch with a lot of the soundtracks released this year, I decided that instead, I will just list my ten favorite songs that I discovered this year and why. These songs may not have been released this year. Discovering music is something I love and there is so much of it out there to be found and loved.

How do you find so many kinds of new genres, artists, and songs, you ask? Having a Spotify Premium account gives me access to the Discover Weekly playlist, which brings up a list of thirty or so songs that the algorithms have deemed I might enjoy. I have found SO many of my favorite songs from this. Several of the songs featured on my list this year were also uncovered this way.

Let’s dive in!

10: Heartbeats by The Knife

from ClashMusic.com

So, I feel super dumb about this one because the song was originally released in 2002. I had actually heard the song before as a cover by Jose Gonzalez but never realized it was a cover. The original song came up on my Discover Weekly playlist this year and I immediately recognized the lead singer’s voice as Karin Dreijer, otherwise known as Fever Ray. I’ve been listening to Fever Ray for a while. Dreijer’s voice is so distinctive and pairing it with a synth-pop beat really made me fall in love with this song.

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Inspiration Through Music: Toh Kay and Streetlight Manifesto

I’ve been introduced to so much wonderful music in the last few months, particularly things in the ska genre, which I had largely been disinterested in before. Not sure why. But I wholeheartedly regret that now. There are so, so many great bands in that genre that have been inspirations for the seeds of stories I’d like to work on. Several of these ideas have come from the works of Streetlight Manifesto and consequently, Toh Kay (the band’s lead singer) who has done acoustic covers of many of the songs. While I’d love to do an Inspiration Through Music post for just Toh Kay’s acoustic covers, you can’t really focus on him without also talking about Streetlight Manifesto. So, today’s Inspiration Through Music will be a bit of a split between the two of them.

Tomas Kalnoky AKA Toh Kay, is a Czech born American musician. While his music with Streetlight Manifesto has a much more upbeat, harder, and motivated feel to it, his solo albums are much smoother and often times, reveal a sadder tone to them. It’s amazing how one can listen to the original Streetlight Manifesto version of a song and then the Toh Kay version and feel as though they’ve listened to two completely different songs. But I love this. And I love that certain songs can be interpreted in both lights. I have a couple of songs from Toh Kay and Streetlight Manifesto that are on a playlist for my latest project (both versions of the same songs) and I’ve found that both work incredibly well for different parts of the story.

My latest project takes place in a fictional beach-side resort town where a vampire (name hasn’t been decided yet) is caught in the moral implications of his lifestyle and the jobs he’s often paid to do, the innocent people that are affected by it, and the dissolution of his own humanity the longer he does it. Toh Kay’s music speaks more to this character’s inner struggles, while Streetlight Manifesto’s songs are a bit more on point with action scenes integral to the plot. Because while I’ve described what this book is about in a deep and kind of nebulous way, it really is supposed to be more of a horror comedy and the playlist for it is chock full of other ska classics. Doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its serious moments though and I can get inside my main character’s head more when I’m listening to those pieces by Toh Kay.

So, today, I’m going to share with you a few of the Toh Kay and Streetlight Manifesto songs that I have added to my playlist along with a couple of generic scenes to illustrate what I’m thinking when I listen to them. Enjoy!

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Inspiration Through Music: Peter Mulvey

Image result for peter mulvey

If you’ve been following the Monstrum Chronicles blog for some time now, you’ll know that I love discovering new music and writing alongside said music. Recently, my boyfriend introduced me to a musician whose style can only be described as part Ray LaMontagne, part phenomenal guitar, and part…sunshine and coffee. Have you ever listened to someone sing and been able to practically see them smile through their voice? Peter Mulvey is this musician.

I was lucky enough to meet him at a recent performance in Hallowell at the beginning of June. He’s one of those people with a charming personable presence, the kind who can entertain with word and song and that you can never grow tired of listening to. He’s become my go to for car rides, down time in the house, and yes, even for certain story ideas. As I’ve been thinking more and more about starting a sequel for Night Time, Dotted Line (my dramedy), I’ve found that Mulvey’s voice resonates with both of the main characters, Calleigh and Spencer, well; particularly with Calleigh though.

Today, I’m going to share a few of Peter Mulvey’s songs with you along with some of the images that his songs conjure in my mind. This is a fun little exercise that you can do in your own spare time. Just take a pencil and paper, play to the songs below, and see what comes to mind when you listen. Enjoy!

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Inspiration Through Music: Moonlight Original Soundtrack

I’m often drawn to the understated elegant soundtracks. They don’t sound grandiose; they don’t sound imperial or adventurous or over-the-top. The smallest nuances in how the individual tracks are composed, the development in the pieces that grow along with the characters and plot… These are the soundtracks I hunger for.

Recently, I found myself checking out the nominees for best original soundtrack for the Golden Globes. Of course, “La La Land” was the winner of the award with its whimsical, jazzy soundtrack. It’s something fun and different and puts people in a good mood when they listen to it. It’s a phenomenal soundtrack and for cooking or hanging around the house, it’s a joy to listen to. But for writing…I look for the darker more serious soundtracks. This is why I was immediately enamored by Nicholas Britell’s score for the Golden Globe best drama motion picture winner, “Moonlight”.

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Top 10 Video Game Soundtracks in 2016

And just like that it’s the end of 2016. I realize I wasn’t as active as I’d purported I’d be at the beginning of the year. I owe that to moving into a new house though. The transition has eaten up a lot of my valuable time. Not only that but I’ve spent much of my autumn beginning a new book and when I do that, I tend to dig in deep and not come up for air. That being said, I’d like to change the topic back to what this blog post is really all about: my top ten picks for video game soundtracks this year!

Several of you readers know I’m a sucker for video game soundtracks. I’ve always been a fan of film scores and in the past few years have developed a love for these equally arresting and inspiring albums. I didn’t want to break with tradition so here I am at midnight on the 30th/31st of December to share with you the soundtracks writers who love music should buy. But why you ask? Keep reading and you’ll see…

#10: Dead Secret Soundtrack by Ben Prunty

Why:  The  Dead Secret soundtrack begins with jazz-inspired flavors and some Asian influences to fit into the storyline. Because it’s a murder mystery, there’s an air of suspicion and curiosity in each piece, growing darker and darker as the game progresses. However, it’s the tracks that are most ambient that stood out most to me. In particular, WOODCUTTER (the theme of the antagonist) is one of the most bone-chilling on the soundtrack and inspires fear from its minimalist drumming. Another is “Permanently Altered” which I listened to several times while working on my latest novel. I recommend this to anyone working on crime or noir fiction, or perhaps something historical in the 1920-1950’s. Track picks: WOODCUTTER, Kwaidan, Permanently Altered, What were you up to?

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Inspiration Through Music: Bridge of Spies Soundtrack

(I wrote this back when the Oscars were happening… yeah.)

I have always, and will always be a fan of music composed by Thomas Newman. I own a number of his impressive film scores, several of them Oscar nominated or winning and all of them gorgeous in their own right. Little Women, Phenomenon, The Horse Whisperer, Meet Joe Black, American Beauty, The Green Mile, Finding Nemo, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Help, Skyfall…(and let’s not forget TV show Six Feet Under and Miniseries Angels in America)! And now, the dramatic and emotional score for the Oscar nominated film, Bridge of Spies.

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Inspiration Through Music: Abzu Soundtrack

ABZÛ cover art

At least once in your lifetime, you’ve put on the radio in your car or on the internet or your digital music player and went about your daily activities. Somewhere within the mix of songs you listened to, there came that one song, the one that made you stop and listen in awe to it, one that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It impressed you, thrilled you, made you want to listen to it over and over again. Years ago, I found that feeling with Austin Wintory’s soundtrack to the game “Journey”. It was plaintive, arresting, and called to a deeper part of me. Now, I’ve found a similar impression again with Wintory’s soundtrack to the game “Abzu”.

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Inspiration Through Music: Unravel Soundtrack

This week, I’ve fallen in love with a new and beautiful game called Unravel by Electronic Arts. In it, you play as a little anthropomorphic yarn boy named Yarny, who traverses a picturesque world of fond memories. There are lots of violent video games on the market right now, so it always makes me feel warm and tingly inside when I’m introduced to something that is based around a unique and more wonderful idea. The idea in Unravel? To reconnect, whether it be with the past, or with people you’ve lost touch with or with places you’ve begun to forget about. It’s a magical and refreshing experience, one that I haven’t felt since I first played Journey.

Unravel’s soundtrack is a collaboration by two Swedish musicians, Henrik Oja and Frida Johansson. The nostalgia present in each track, blended with the stunning visuals of the game makes one feel as though they are really running along the seaside, exploring mountains, and sailing through the treetops. Not only is it immersive, it also easily makes you feel lost inside each narrative that Yarny traverses. Today I’ll be sharing four songs from the unofficial Unravel soundtrack and writing what I see when I listen to them.

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