In my mind, fall begins far before the official autumn solstice date late in the month of September. I celebrate my birthday at the end of August, usually doing something that I haven’t had the chance to do all summer long, and then…fall is here, to me anyway. The time between the end of August til the end of November is my time to party, to look forward to all the crafts I’ve been cataloging to do at a later date, to bake a ridiculous number of things… This is my favorite season. Which means more Cooking Adventures for you guys. Oh yeah. Celebration.
I’ve been quite bad with keeping up on blogs this summer. I don’t want to give excuses about work, and writing deadlines and such but that’s really what it all boils down to. And this autumn isn’t going to be any less busy for me. But, now that it isn’t five million degrees outside and a cool breeze blows through the window in my kitchen door, I feel justified in baking and cooking more often now. This season’s baking begins with a stellar recipe for a peach pie that I found from Two Peas & Their Pod. I’m a bit of a pie fiend and I wanted to attempt a fruit pie that I had never tried before. This did end up being more of a cooking “frolic” as it wasn’t very involved, but it was still very fun to make.
The Rules: in your status, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard–they don’t have to be the “right” books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way. Along with each, I’ve included a short message of what they taught me or why they stayed with me. Here we go:
1. Green Angel by Alice Hoffman (Taught me that a character can survive and rise out of grief after losing everything they once had)
Hello, hello! Incidentally, this is my 300th post on the Monstrum Chronicles blog and what better way to celebrate then with a good laugh. I’m going to be starting up a new weekly blog called “Horror-Fail Friday” in which we examine some tragic examples of horror gone wrong.
Today’s inaugural post is a video from Let’s Player HarshlyCritical. The game: Timore (which possibly rhymes with “Amore“). Yes, for all of you Dean Martin fans out there, you can start singing. In addition to a strange, unexplained name, we have a protagonist with no story who is wandering around an oddly constructed building with blood-covered (and I mean COVERED) walls. He’s pursued by Paintshop plus mannequins, licorice-flailing arms, and the diabolical flaming Timore, who looks like the bad guy from “The Final Sacrifice” with a red cloak.
Today isn’t necessarily an exercise in seeing scenes while listening to music as much as it is appreciating said music. There are times when I get stuck while writing; happens to the best of us. Often we get up, we go for a walk, we fold laundry, wash dishes, watch a movie…anything to get our minds off of it so that, hopefully, an answer will come to us through something else. I often will listen to some music…and usually, it’s from a selection of video game soundtracks that I hold in high regard. Video game soundtracks can and often are a form of art. Growing up with Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Playstation… I’ve been introduced to several gorgeous compositions that have fully immersed me in the world of the game and often inspired me in my writing. If we’re being honest here…there are dozens upon dozens of game soundtracks that I own and adore. But, today, I’m going to share with you my top ten along with why I enjoy them. So…here we go!
Yes. It has been quite some time. Much has happened in the last month or so. And while not all of the stories are fun, I would like to take a moment to focus on what has happened, what is happening, and what is going to happen. Call me the seer of seers, prognosticator of prognosticators…Wait. That’s from “Groundhog Day”.
Anyway, without getting all ‘Phil’sophical on you, I’ll get straight to what’s going to happen here in Katherineland.
It occurred to me recently that I have never fully explained why write these blogs. Sure, I love discovering new music and sharing my discoveries with people. I like to write and listen to them. But there is something more to it, something I hope you writers and readers will appreciate. I once remember looking at another author’s playlist of songs that she listened to while writing her book years ago. When she got to a certain song on her list, she put in parentheses next to it “Generic action music”. I remember being extremely annoyed by that. Not sure if it was a blast against the writing of action scenes in general or if it was against that genre of music (in this case it was Fat Boy Slim). The author has since changed the list, removing the random note. And while this author shall remain nameless (*cough*Stephanie Meyer *cough* *cough*), I would really like to take a moment and focus on just how important action scenes are in the books that require them and how a certain song can really fit in with the scene you have in mind.
When I listen to music as I’m writing, I’m not simply using it as background noise. It’s more than just a distraction from the world going on around me. I tend to visualize the scenes in my novels and, often, I will do this to the tune from a song whether it is instrumental or vocal. There are certain songs that I can close my eyes to and see everything that the characters are doing in time with the music. I suppose it could be seen as a form of synesthesia, although I wouldn’t say I’m seeing a specific color while listening to a specific song or hearing a specific voice. This generally happens when I’m writing an action scene more often than not.
COOKING ADVENTURE #93: Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas
This has quite possibly got to be the miracle of all Cooking Adventures I’ve ever done. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much go wrong with a recipe and yet…turn out to be edible in the end. Literally everything I touched during this managed to go terribly. And what’s more…I was dictating most of what happened to a friend whilst doing it. It was my first “Cooking Adventure Live” attempt…and it proves that any outside distraction can have disastrous consequences. Well, maybe not “disastrous”. After all, they were edible in the end, ha ha. And they lasted me practically a week! I shall now dictate to you absolutely everything that happened during the Great Enchilada Meltdown. Be Prepared.
When I find a band that I can really get in sync with and start writing to easily, it’s essentially a giant celebration. I am a fan of many different kinds of music and I write a lot of very different genres, ranging from comedy to horror. Just about a month ago, I was working on a side project from my Monstrum Chronicles horror series in order to kind of recharge my writing batteries. Sometimes taking a break and working on a fun and utterly different project makes you able to see things with a clear head once again. And that’s just what it did for me. While working on that project, I came across this drop-dead gorgeous band called Stateless and a bountiful collection of songs that I’ve had on repeat for…a while now.
Stateless is an English electronic band that was founded in 2002. These guys have thought-provoking lyrics matched with some great beats and incredibly balanced harmonies. What really stuck out at me were the levels of beauty and grittiness that songs peaked at, able to sound really dark and tragic but also hopeful and lovely. Got to say that they are probably one of my favorite bands now. I absolutely love their stuff. It got so that I listened to them not only for the break story but also for Memento Mori and my apocalyptic novel, Cold Walls. I was thankfully able to include my four favorite songs from them in today’s Inspiration Through Music, along with what scenes played through my head as I listened to them. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy.
COOKING ADVENTURE #92: Blackened Salmon with Mango Avacado Salsa
Let’s be clear: this winter didn’t want to end. It was/is clinging to Maine like a bug clings to the outside of a speeding car, air rushing against it. That’s how much we wanted winter to go. It’s like it was trying against all odds to stay and make us miserable. Now that I’ve made my point, I’ll also make the point that because of this weather, my diet has consisted primarily of delicious comfort food…lots of pizza, pasta, and of course, chocolate. And that has made several pair of my pants feel just a tad too tight for comfort. So, I decided that I was going to try and get back on a healthy track and start preparing some food that was better for me overall. On the list of foods that are fabulous for you: salmon, avacado, and mango. And wouldn’t you know it, I came across a recipe that utilizes all three. I was delighted. And admittedly, a little nervous. I hadn’t cooked fish in a long time. I hadn’t eaten salmon in practically five years. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this even if it turned out brilliantly. I like being surprised in a good way. Love it in fact.
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.