Updates n’ Such


It’s been several months since I’ve done a proper update blog, so I wanted to just sit down, listen to my Haddaway, and give you all an idea of everything going on now. Yes… I’m listening to 80’s music. Don’t judge.

BRAND NEW WEBSITE! Yes, if you haven’t been over to the website in a while, go check it out. I’ve changed the domain name back to www.monstrumchronicles.com and have simplified the layout. It looks cleaner, it’s easier to find information, and it looks much more professional. I’m pretty satisfied with it. I’d still like to get a character page up for some of the main characters in The Monstrum Chronicles but that may take a little while.

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Inspiration Through Music: Mary Fahl

I like listening to all kinds of music when writing. It all depends on the genre, the mood of the scene, and the characters and their chemistry in that scene. Most of all, I love it when I find a musician or band with a distinctive voice, really intriguing lyrics, and a great melody. Several years ago, I was given a taste of the work from a band called October Project. I had only ever heard one of their songs but I fell in love with the lead singer’s voice within moments. Through the years, I returned to that song, listening to it for several projects here and there. Only recently, was I introduced to Mary Fahl once again, now not a part of October Project and singing some fabulous songs, sounding as amazing as ever. I even missed seeing her by several hours. HOURS. Had I known that she was in the state doing a concert, I would have booked it down there to catch it. Unfortunately, I missed it. But several of my other writer friends saw her and are as equally in awe of her talent as I am.

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Inspiration Through Music: Akira Yamaoka

When it comes to the world of soundtracks for horror video games, there are very few at are as well-known and prolific as Akira Yamaoka, the composer for the Silent Hill franchise as well as other games. Silent Hill evokes an energy charged, haunting aura that always makes one uncomfortable and looking over ones shoulder. With a blend of rock, trip-hop, and ambient that is unlike most anyone’s music out there, he has effectively created a world that we can lose ourselves in when we listen to some of his breath-taking and chilling scores. My personal favorite soundtrack of his comes from Silent Hill 4: The Room, a playthrough that my favorite LPer, HarshlyCritical just finished up. The story line and the twisted antagonist for this title really engaged me as did the various themes heard throughout the various worlds of the game.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve listened to Yamaoka while working on writing projects. I was introduced to his music by a friend in highschool who burned me a couple of the soundtracks to listen to. I knew very little about Silent Hill then, but was still amazed by the music and knew it would be an excellent inspiration for not only my horror titles, but also a historical fiction I was working on and an incredibly secret project which has been in development for several years. Today, I’m going to pick five songs to share with you and tell you what I see when I listen to them. Enjoy! [Just so you know, I had the WORST time trying to pick just five. I had thirteen listed here before…]

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Inspiration Through Music: Beyond – Two Souls


This year has been a year of ah-freaking-mazing video games. As far as plot, characterization, atmosphere, and music goes, in my book, it’s been one of the best. Citing games such as The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, The Cat Lady, and The Wolf Among Us as examples, I was convinced that I was going to keep being introduced to some new and awesome soundtrack music when I heard that the creators of Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream) were developing a new game. My favorite youtube let’s player, HarshlyCritical, began playing the game a few days ago. Folks, I’m beyond floored.

Not only is the game beautiful, the music has me wrapped in a state of awe. Could this be because of the genius composing from not only Assassin’s Creed composer, Lorne Balfe, but also the incredible Hans Zimmer, responsible for some of my favorite soundtracks (Angels and Demons, The Thin Red Line, and Pirates of the Caribbean)? Let’s also throw in there that this was the last project of Normand Corbeil, who composed the soundtrack of Quantic Dream’s earlier game, Heavy Rain. Corbeil, unfortunately, died earlier this year, so he wasn’t able to complete his work on Beyond. Thankfully, two talented and wonderful composers stepped up to do so and produced a score that is emotive, edgy, and brilliant in all senses of the word. Today, I’m going to share a handful of songs with you from the soundtrack and paint you a picture of what I see when I listen to them.

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Dog Food Chicken and Stale Meatballs (aka no Cooking Adventure yet)

Yes. You read that title correctly. Not only was I tardy in doing my cooking adventures this week, they ended up not being very appetizing at all. I also ate them in such a hurry that I didn’t get any photographs taken. Trust me, they wouldn’t have done these sorry dishes any justice. I can only say that for my seventy-fifth Cooking Adventure, I don’t want you to be disappointed with something as gross as either of these two things; chicken fingers and meatball subs (although I’m sure you’re wondering why the chicken tasted like dog food and why the meatballs were stale). I honestly have no idea about the chicken, and the meatballs had been in my freezer for over a year. Yes, I still ate them. Am I sick? No. Somehow, I’m not.

Be that as it may, I will be doing my 75th Cooking Adventure this weekend and it will be an event you won’t want to miss. (Much like the Quarter Quell from Catching Fire!) Even though the eponymous Shark Week is a couple weeks away, I’ll be throwing a Kick-Off night this Saturday. I’ll be creating some shark cupcakes and chum jello shots, while a couple friends and I watch Jaws: the Rifftrax edition. Curious? Check these guys out. You won’t be disappointed.

Now, now. I know you guys have been waiting for almost two weeks. It’s coming. Just know that in that time, I’ve been making some incredible leaps and bounds while working on my apocalyptic ghost novel, “Cold Walls.” Almost to 9,000 words and still going strong.

Friday. Cooking Adventure. Be ready.


Inspiration Through Music: Atra Aeterna

(photo and artwork above copyrighted to Zach Mitchell)

As I’ve mentioned before several times, ambient music is my cup of tea. It’s the kind of music that inspires me the most while working on a book because I find these songs to just be so much deeper and easier to get lost in. They are like their own little worlds where in we can see fragments of characters, scenes, and circumstances. I keep a playlist on Spotify (okay, a couple) of just ambient, instrumental music (usually of the more dark sounding nature) from which I can work on my Monstrum Chronicles series and my new apocalyptic fiction, Cold Walls. At the core of this playlist is a musician whom I discovered a couple years ago on Bandcamp when I was searching for Martin Stig Anderson’s amazing Limbo Soundtrack. I discovered Atra Aeterna and his album “Machinations”. Folks, I discovered gold that day.

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Inspiration Through Music: Fleet Foxes

I’ve never known a band that would remind me of the sun as much as Fleet Foxes. No matter what song I’m listening to by them, there is always a scene with a gentle sunlight bathing the scene. It’s refreshing and light during a time of the year that can be hard to get through because of the snow and cold. This week after the recent snowpocalypse, I’ve been craving this folksy-bluesy music, dreaming of the spring and summer to come, of flowers, wearing skirts and spending afternoons perusing through shops with no hurry to be anywhere later in the day. I miss this. And when I listen to Fleet Foxes, I can see the scenes in my head as clear as I can see this computer sitting in my lap. I’m thankful that I was introduced to Fleet Foxes a few years ago by a friend from work. New Years Day, as we drove in her car over frost-heaved roads late at night to get the spare apartment key from my parent’s house (because I’d locked myself out), I listened to White Winter Hymnal and was forever grateful for that first exposure. Today, I’ll be sharing five songs with you and what I see when I listen to them. Enjoy.

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Erpdates! Ermahgerd!

Yes. It has been a long time since I’ve given you all an update on things happening here at Monstrum Chronicles central. Figured it was about time. I apologize for my wacky schedule the last couple months. Fall is always so much more hectic for me because I have so much going on. Plus being sick hasn’t helped things. Thank you to all of you who still read my blogs every week. You guys are pretty awesome.

So, this week is Thanksgiving which generally means it’s just going to be a crazy week. I am literally over 80% done with revisions to the physical copy of “Aequitas”. Having just conquered the evil cold (maybe?), I can finally look forward to spending more time in the evening getting this done. I plan to use tonight and tomorrow night to finish up the last of locating issues in the book and starting to apply those revisions to the computer draft.

Then… it’s Thanksgiving (gobble, gobble). I intend to take that day off (but because I’m a workaholic, I might end up working on stuff anyway).

Then… it’s Black Friday. And yes, folks, I’m working that day. Probably going to be a pretty insane day. Not sure how much energy I’ll have that evening for working on the book. Saturday, however, I’ll have plenty of time to make the changes I need to the digital proof. I’ll probably purchase another physical proof so that I can make sure all of the changes came out correctly. When that’s approved, I’ll order copies of the books. So, now, we’re looking at an early December release.

Now, news on other things… I have an author event scheduled for the Vose Library in January. It will be a book signing/reading/discussion event for “Aequitas” and a chance for you to ask any questions you may have about the future of The Monstrum Chronicles. I’ll have more info on that later.

I have been struggling with a bit of writer’s block lately and as a result haven’t been able to really write anything. I have three books that I’m trying really hard to focus on right now. “Memento Mori, Book 3 of The Monstrum Chronicles” is obviously one of the more important ones. I also have “Cold Walls” which is an apocalyptic novel that I’ve talked about many times on here and read a segment of at the Halloween Readings in October. That one is currently on the front burner as I’m trying to get it written before I lose all the inspiration I have for it, ha ha. Lastly, I have started Book 4 of The Monstrum Chronicles which I’m hoping to write at the same time as Book 3. Kind of a crazy thought, I know, but I really don’t want a two year lapse between the release of books like there has been.

In addition to these, I have plans to release a series of short stories through the winter, specifically a western horror (worror) series, I’ve been developing with a whole set of new characters (that also takes place in The Monstrum Chronicles universe). The first segment is already written and just needs some editing magic. You can probably look forward to seeing that one around Christmas.

Now… I think that’s all there is! Stay tuned for Cooking Adventures which will be posted either late Thursday night or Friday morning this week. I’m making a green bean casserole and a sparkling cider pound cake that will (hopefully) have you salivating in your computer chair.

Until next time, have a great holiday everyone!