The Hot Tub of Death

COOKING ADVENTURE 38 – Cooking Co-Op #2: Boiled Lobster

Hi. My name is Gary.

Yes, folks. That horrific day has finally come where I’ve actually cooked a lobster. Now I know what you’re thinking. Well… maybe I don’t know exactly what you’re thinking but for a few of you, it will be along the lines of “So what? No big deal.” And for some of you that don’t eat seafood, you’re trying to comprehend how this thing could be seen as delicious. I mean, yes, he is kind of staring into your soul… and I, against better judgement, named the lobsters Gary and Barry (both in honor of characters in recent playthroughs that HarshlyCritical has done). But some of you might not have also realized that these guys were alive beforehand… yup. I killed the lobsters. And I did it using the hot tub of death.

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June Updatey-ness

Good evening, folks.

After a week of content writing before and after my day job, I’ve finished one of my short stories, my western short story, “Landed.” I had some pretty ridiculous goals for last week which, had I not had other obligations, I probably could have finished. But truth is, I just don’t have as much time now. But I am proud to get that one project done. It needs some editing as well as a cover design which I’ll begin looking at this week. Also this week, I’m looking to give some love to either is my short story, “Acquolina” which ties in with some of the events in Aequitas or one of my novella projects (one of which is a thromance (thriller/romance). Hopefully this week, I’ll get one of those finished up.

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Amazing People: Give ’em some attention!

Good afternoon, readers!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time but haven’t had a chance to do it until now. That being said, let me explain why I need to do this.

I’ve met some extraordinary people in my journey to publish my book. They are gifted writers, photographers, commentators, bloggers… they are all deserving of some attention and I think it’s time they received some. These people were there for me, giving me encouragement when I needed it the most, and constantly providing some good karma. It’s time I returned the favor to them.

Below, you’ll find a list of some amazing people and their websites. Please visit them, read or view some of the things they’ve accomplished, and help them out by “liking”, “subscribing”, or “commenting” about it. Also, spread the word about them! Suggest their websites to your friends. They deserve some good vibes!

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It’s Snowing!

Good morning, readers!

So, I looked out my window about a half an hour ago and had a reaction very similar to this guy’s:

 

Folks, we finally have snow. In Maine, there have only really been three major storms for the last three months. One the day before Thanksgiving, one on Christmas… and the one we’re having now. Otherwise, the weather has been sunny and about 40 degrees everyday. What’s happening right now is a thing of beauty.

I’ve spent the last couple hours working on some edits for “Aequitas.” I’m hoping to power through chapters 9 and 10 today. I’ve also got plans to work on “Night Time, Dotted Line” my travel dramedy novella, and on my short story, Malice Aforethought. There will also be my attempt to make a cheesecake. That should be interesting.

Back to the grindstone!

Stay tuned for Friday’s Food Adventure post detailing my epic struggle (I’m foretelling my future here) with making my first cheesecake.

~KSilva

Aequitas! A sneak peek at what’s ahead!

Good Morning!

The last two days, I’ve been able to do get out of bed. Migraine, head cold, sore throat… it’s been a miserable time. Even today, I’m still not back on my feet completely. I’ve successfully used up two boxes of kleenex, drained a pot of chicken soup, and was successful in making my cat sympathetically sick as well. He left little presents for me on my carpet yesterday.

Dreadful as I feel, I have returned to the blog to do what I said I was going to do, update you on what you can expect to see in “Aequitas”.

I don’t want to give too much away but I do want to give you a brief synopsis of who will be returning, the new characters you’ll meet and some of the bloodlines that feature prominently in book 2.

MAIN CHARACTERS RETURNING!

A few times, I’ve mentioned that Reid and Torrent will both be back in the sequel. Unlike “Vox” where we went back and forth between three pov (Torrent’s, Eileen’s, and Sean’s), “Aequitas” will slingshot between Reid and Torrent, whose stories will come together eventually. Torrent was the major protagonist in “Vox” and it was his story that we got to know the most. In “Aequitas”, it will be Reid who we learn the most about.

Aside from Reid and Torrent returning, we will see the return of Eileen (though not as a principal protagonist), Vinh (Akane’s childe), and the Councilmen. Sean and Jill will both return for a short period.

NEW CHARACTERS!

An old ex-Council friend of Reid’s will join him in his adventures. Sassy, charming, and dangerous, Cardea is a Nephythys not to be trifled with. Will she and Reid be able to trust one another after the terrible events that shattered their friendship years ago?

Harper is Torrent’s first fledgling and the one who reported him to the Council of Thema after he destroyed Seraphim City. Harper has been elected as the replacement Citius judge on the Council. But does he have more sinister intentions with his new post?

We’ll also meet Reid’s sire, The Artigiani di Alta, a group of Kume artisans with connections to both Reid and Torrent, and the mysterious Leach, a figure with connections to a series of macabre murders occurring all over the globe.

LOCATIONS!

For fans of “Vox”, you already know how I love to send my characters globe-trotting in my books. In “Aequitas,” the characters will travel to several exotic and dark locations including but not limited to:

Linz, Austria

 

 Montreal, Canada

 

Istanbul, Turkey

and finally,

MAINE!!

(P.S. Epic stuff happens here.)

BLOODLINES!

In “Vox,” we learned allot about the Citius, Amalric, Savaric, and Haru bloodlines because the characters spent a bunch of time in their home territories.

In “Aequitas,” we will learn more about:

The Elias (Reid’s bloodline)

The Kume

The Nephythys

and The Rain!

AND THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING…

A dangerous monstrum unlike anything Torrent and Reid have faced before, zombies (or as Torrent would say “Aegruses”), giant man-eating fish, an underground red market, big guns, more blood, lots of water, and plenty of fire…

Oh yes. It’ll be one thrill-ride of a book.

Next week, I will reveal a few songs from the Aequitas Soundtrack! I’ll also treat you to the “If The Monstrum Chronicles were to be a movie, who would play the main characters?” post. And I’ll be sure to keep you updated on tips, tricks, and other writing-related blog posts as I see fit!

Now, off to revise (and then probably nap!) Hopefully this cold will mostly gone by the end of the week!

KSilva

[EDIT: There was apparently an issue with the source of some of the pictures that I posted. Everything should be fixed now.]

The Dastardly Cold…

I have a cold.

What’s worse is that it is sucking the life out of me one tissue at a time.

In spite of my sluggish beginning this morning, I’ve done some running around: grocery shopping, organizing the disaster under my sink, fixing my outside deck light, and doing some social media stuff. At the moment, I’ve got a squash and spinach soup simmering on the stove, a glass of orange juice, and Florence and the Machine’s ‘Breaking Down’ serenading me in my living room. Outside, the sky is bright blue with puffs of white clouds and the sun is bright. Its radiating straight through my kitchen door and warming the apartment nicely.

It’s also about 50 degrees out there. In January. In Maine. I, for one, am excited about this.

This week, I’ve decided to kick off my “international cooking resolution” with Pastitsio! It’s a noodle casserole-type dish made with something called béchamel sauce. It doesn’t sound too complicated and I’ll have some fun making it. I’ll post pictures (and an update) on Friday!

Also in news today, one of my good friends, Kale Poland, an ultra-marathoner and fellow coffee-fanatic, has posted a link to The Monstrum Chronicles on his website. Once again, thank you a million, Kale. If you’re interested in checking out his website, it can be found here. It probably has one of the coolest intros ever, ha ha.

In additional news, I have a book-signing/discussion/reading coming up in March! It will be March 6th at 7 pm at the Union Town Library, located on the Common Road in Union, Maine! All of the details haven’t quite been worked out yet but I’m very excited about this. It will be a great way to help relaunch Vox as well as introduce Aequitas, which (hopefully) should be published soon thereafter.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the first book of the series, Vox, please hop on over to Amazon here and download a copy for Kindle! Don’t have Kindle? Now there’s an application you can download to your computer so that you can read any e-books for sale through Amazon!

Or, if you prefer the good ole fashioned book with crisp pages and that new book smell and you live in Maine, check out one of these book stores:

The Owl and the Turtle

The Reading Corner

Gulf of Maine Books

Longfellow Books

Sherman’s Bookstore

Tomorrow (I promise), I’ll write an evening post about somethings you can expect to see in “Aequitas”.

Until then, have a fantastic day!

~KSilva

Goodbye 2011! Hello 2012!

Good morning, readers!

Today marks the end of 2011. And though this year was a year of wonderful opportunities and many crazy happenstances, I can happily say that I’m ready to see it go.

2011 was a year of many firsts for me. First book signing, first time having a book on Kindle, first book-reading… etc. All of these experiences have opened my eyes to how truly great the world of self-publishing really is. It’s the latest and greatest thing. A few years ago, I never would have dreamed of being an author or having the opportunity to get my book out there, not only in paperback form but digitally as well. I couldn’t have done this though, without help from my friends, family, and fans of the series!

In the last two weeks, The Monstrum Chronicles has grown by leaps and bounds. On December 14th, when I posted the infamous I Need a Christmas Miracle post, I had 108 fans on Facebook. I had 26 Twitter followers. 1 review on Amazon and no likes. ‘Vox was in 672,oooth place on the Kindle best-sellers market. ‘And I had 2 subscribers on the blog.

Since then, here are the stats: On the facebook page, there are 115 fans. I have 70 followers on Twitter. There are 5 reviews for the Kindle version of “Vox” and 2 for the paperback. There are 4 likes for the book (and two for me!) “Vox” is now at 234,194th place on the Kindle best-sellers market. (At one point, it was at 97,000!) I have 5 subscribers (but several other readers) on my blog. I’m absolutely ecstatic! Thank you all so much for everything you’ve done in the last couple of weeks! You truly are some awesome people!

In 2012, I’d like to take it up a notch! (Sorry, Emeril, not trying to take your catch phrase or anything.)

My New Years Resolutions for 2012!

  1. Better management of time: There aren’t enough hours in one day, to be true. So I need to learn how to organize all of my activities better so that I can do more without stressing. (Such as blog before work!)
  2. Money management: In order to really market “Vox” and its upcoming sequel, “Aequitas”, I’m going to need to crack down on the way that I spend money and lay out a budget for buying ads and such.
  3. Read more!: I don’t read enough. In the last couple months, I’ve gotten back into it and would love to get to a point where I can fly through research books while gleaning valuable information from them as well as enjoying genre and literary fiction without taking 6 months to get through a book.
  4. Write more!: It’s true. I say I write in all of my spare time but more often than not, I’m so tired that I just sleep! Or slip into a vegetative state on my couch, while staring out my window. This fits in with my “time management” resolution as well. I hope to write more short stories and upload them to Kindle next year in addition to finally finishing “Aequitas” and uploading that, too!
  5. Exercise program: This is about energy! I collapse when I get home from work every night. In the mornings, I never want to get up. At night, I’m so restless I can’t sleep. My solution? Exercise. It will tire me out before bed, invigorate me in the morning, and keep my muscles from feeling like goo.
  6. Don’t be afraid to try new things!: Yes. I am a homebody. I don’t go out much and yes, I am hesitant when approaching things I’ve never done before. I’d like to try and come out of my shell more this year and do things I’ve never done before! (okay, a bit dramatic, I apologize.)
  7. Try cooking different recipes!: Here’s a secret: I practically cook the same stuff every week. Its easy and it’s usually cheaper. But its also boring. I’d like to do a new recipe once every two weeks, if I can. And definitely try some international dishes. Any endeavors I take in that area, I’ll post here. And if it’s not too much trouble, I’d love to learn how to bake. Oh yes, some of you know how I excel in crumbling cakes, creating “grunge cakes” (the long-lost, black sheep cousin of the cupcake) and burning cookies. I’ll be working on this.
  8. Lastly, I’d like to put away some of my resentments, turn the burner down on my anger, and attempt to leave the past in the past. Everyone holds onto unnecessary bad mojo. It’s time I said “Au revior!” to mine.

And I need to figure out how to tame the wild, demon that I live with; Lemon Jelly.

He may look all cute and fuzzy... but...

He’s actually mellowed out quite a bit over the last year. However, he’s still capable of douchey things. Last night, one happened to be leaping across my laptop, while I was holding a mug of tea and making me spill it on the keyboard. He did the same thing with a cupcake I was holding at the beginning of the month when I was having a particularly bad day.

And my time is up for the morning. To one and all, have a Happy New Years!

~KSilva

Pretty Much Still Half-Asleep

Good morning, folks.

As you may have guessed, I’m not fully awake this morning. I feel as though I went to sleep early enough last night but this morning, my head is telling me I didn’t get enough z’s. I spent the day zooming all of the Midcoast at break-neck pace. But it was all for a purpose.

I found the elusive Caleb Carr book, “The Angel of Darkness.” I call it “elusive” because I’d looked in at least three different places before happening upon it in a tiny used bookstore in Camden. Even better: it was only $4. I’m so excited to dive into it but first I must finish Anthony Bourdain’s “Medium Raw.” I haven’t had much time to read this week considering the holidays and being at work. Hopefully on my next day off, I’ll be able to sit down and read quite a bit of it.

Yesterday, I also had the pleasure of watching “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” with my friend for her birthday. Wow. What an awesome movie! I was surprised by the amount of action that this movie included. There was alot more deduction and dialogue in the first movie. The addition of so much action did help to keep me on the edge of my seat for the entire movie though. And I was pleased to see that they included the legendary Riechenbach Falls into the story as well.

Work on “Aequitas” is still underway. I’m anxious for the holidays to pass so that I will have more time to put to editing the book. It seems the last few weeks have been absolutely crazy. I’m longing for a day that I can stay in at home. I want heaps of snow to pour from the clouds as I sip at a hot cup of peppermint tea, curl into a blanket on the red leather sofa, and write to my heart’s content. That, folks, is my idea of a perfect winter day.

But I’m not entirely sure when we are supposed to get snow… and when we do, how long it will stay. We had a pretty hefty snow storm on Christmas. Then, two days later, it was 50 degrees outside and it all melted with a wash of rain. Hopefully soon, Midcoast Maine will begin to resemble white Decembers/Januarys in past years. Keeping my fingers crossed!

That’s all that I have time for this morning, I’m afraid. I must start getting ready for work.

Tomorrow: New Years Resolutions and an ode to 2011!

KSilva

Madame Butterfly, How I Love Thee!

Good morning, readers!

If you’ve read “Vox”, you’ll have noticed the heavy opera usage through out the book. Not only did certain opera pieces inspire parts of the book, the book plays out as a kind of dark fantasy opera. In order for me to really get into the mood of the book, I listened to several opera pieces (at one point for 11 hours!), looked up the translations for some of the Italian lyrics, and researched the background of each opera to get a sense of what was occurring there.

The most poignant piece in “Vox” is Un Bel di Vedremo from Madama Butterfly. I have to praise Puccini for composing such a heart-rending piece. It inspired the undying love between Eileen and her deceased husband, Tom. The story in the original opera follows the tale of a Japanese girl who marries an American Naval officer. Both have their own reasons for doing so. The Naval officer leaves soon after the wedding, while Butterfly anxiously awaits his return. When he does so, he returns with an American wife which in consequence, breaks Butterfly’s heart. She ends her life soon after.

“Vox” certainly isn’t as dramatic as the original opera. I wanted to borrow that sense of longing that appears in Un Bel di Vedremo and use it for Eileen, who carries the memories of her husband with her through out the book. She has already been devastated by his death. Psychiatrists have tried to tell her she must go on without him, that he is never coming back (such as the roles of Suzuki, the maid and Goro, the matchmaker, in the play did with Butterfly). But she continues to hold onto the idea that she can’t let him go until it is too late.

I’ve attached a link to the song here. It is sung by Renee Fleming. Please give it a listen.

~KSilva

Inspiration for “Home”

Good morning, folks!

Hoping everyone had a wonderful and safe Christmas! It actually snowed here… quite a bit. I ended up staying at my parent’s house and was without my computer for a full 24 hours… (which almost never happens!) Still, it was a pleasant day unwrapping gifts and spending time with my family. Among many fantastic gifts, I received some new video editing software for my laptop. Hopefully now, I’ll be able to experiment more with making some more professional looking book trailers! I’ll take a look at everything this Thursday when I have more time!

Since I am once again pressed for time this morning, I would just quickly like to thank those people who read “Home” and enjoyed it. The idea for the story had been trapped in my head for several days and that morning I literally dumped it from my noggin onto the blog. I wrote it in an hour, so any mistakes I made I apologize for. I was trying to get ready for work, too!

If any of you wondered what my inspiration was behind this story, I’ll say right now that it was a combination of a couple things. One is a unique book trailer that someone posted for the novel, “Going West” by Maurice Gee. The trailer is a stop-motion animated piece which runs for about one and a half to two minutes. The narrator brings life to Gee’s stunning imagery through the course of the video. You can find that video here.

The second inspiration is a new song released by Puscifer this year (fueling my James Maynard Keenan obsession), which is called “Tumbleweed.” I listened to that song while I wrote “Home”. You can find that song here.

This week, I’ll be posting some interesting factoids about “Vox” and “Aequitas”, specifically where I get my inspiration from while writing those books. I’ll also be posting more writing tips in general!

Til then, enjoy the day!

KSilva