That Time I Accidentally Stabbed My Hand While Chipping Stale Brownies Out Of A Baking Pan a.k.a. New Cooking Adventures

a-sign-of-petit-fours5

Don’t let the title fool you; this entry in itself is not a Cooking Adventure yet. But I have toyed with the possibility of bringing back video Cooking Adventures this year and the desire to do it is slowly overtaking me. One of the biggest reasons that I didn’t try to do them last year were because I was in the process of buying a new house and since I’ve moved into said house, I’ve been coming to grips with all of its various quirks. The kitchen is one of these.

It’s a beautiful kitchen. There are open beams, a large window overlooking the lawn, plenty of counter space, and lots of light and warmth…in the summer. In the winter, it has become the coldest room in the house due to a lack of insulation and the fact that it was an added room to the 1890 cape. So, in order to ensure that it’s warm enough for me to spend time in there, I’ve had to put up an insulated curtain over the big, light-bringing window and put on a space-heater. Filming in such a dark room isn’t very easy.

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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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Writer Thoughts Thursday: The First Draft

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Writing the first draft is a wondrous experience for the most part. You have all these ideas swirling around you that you want to incorporate: characters that seem cool, smart, funny,  and sexy; places that will make your readers long to travel there (or stay as far away from it as possible); a plot so Machiavellian, you wonder if you should be examined by a psychologist… The possibilities are limitless.

You know what’s wrong with a first draft though?

The possibilities are…limitless.

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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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October Update (Yes…I know…I’m a lazy bum)

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I know. Oh, believe me, I know.

It’s been months since the last update. I was thinking (hoping) I’d be on a more regular schedule following my move but it’s been harder than ever to stick to one. I’ve barely had time to write (a sentence I hope I never have to utter again) during these last several weeks. The house has required a butt-load of attention. I’ve been doing lots of painting, yard work, and decorating to make it feel more homey. It’s coming along. It won’t be done this year. It probably won’t be done next year. But at this point, I have a few rooms completed or nearly completed.

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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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Horror FAVE Friday: Inside by Playdead

I’ve been waiting years for this one. YEARS.

I didn’t get to try Playdead’s first game, Limbo, until well after it had released. I still fell head-over-heels in love with it. Everything from the monochromatic environments, to the ambient soundtrack, to the simple side-scrolling puzzle platforming… Limbo remained one of my favorite games to play for several years and the Limbo soundtrack, composed by Martin Stig Andersen, is my absolute favorite writing music (even though there are only six tracks). When I heard that Playdead was developing a new game, the mysterious INSIDE, I knew it would be just as atmospheric and somehow even more intense than its predecessor. I couldn’t have been more right.

Utilizing splashes of red here and there while keeping mostly to greyscale, the game features an unnamed boy as he creeps through woods, farmyards, water, and industrial locations, all while hiding and being chased by an unknown faction of people. The game hooks you early on by showing this group taking a van full of people away in the rain to an undisclosed location. You’re then sent into a pulse-pounding chase as you’re spotted and forced to flee, dodging gunfire and snarling dogs.

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New England Authors Expo 2016 a.k.a. The Adventures of Blind Katherine

This is a story about why you should always, always, always have a spare pair of eyeglasses if you are as blind as a bat. Fair warning, there may be some cussing involved here.

Wednesday was my third New England Authors Expo, a collaborative author event in Danvers, Massachusetts at the Danversport Yacht Club. Authors, publishers, editors, and illustrators alike congregate to network, sell their wares, and this year, attend panel discussions about topics such as marketing and editing. I’ve had lots of fun attending the last two NEAE events, have met some great writer friends at them, and have usually sold enough to make it worth going back every year.

This year, I really wanted to step it up. While my newest novella hasn’t released yet, I decided that I would make some gifty items in order to promote it and the rest of my Monstrum Chronicles series. I spent hours upon hours making faux bloodstained book page art, drawing chimera bookmarks, crafting faux bloodvial necklaces, and even making some pretty cool book page coasters and pins. I had fun doing it but it left me exhausted the night before and as a result, I only got four hours of sleep.

That next morning, I spent another three hours putting the final touches on things and getting packed. I was late getting out the door, which put me behind in my estimation for when I’d get to the Expo. It was a three hour commute, which is fine usually. I had some killer 70’s and 80’s one hit wonders to groove to on my way. There’s a certain inner sanctuary one reaches while belting out Haddaway’s “What is Love” while flying down I-95. That is, until the other drivers turn into assholes and start weaving in and out of lanes as though they are vehicular dolphins. I quickly transform into the equivalent of a Great White Shark stuck inside a manta ray. My car isn’t exactly formidable, and I possess quite the road rage…

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New Home Adventures: Katherine vs. Tesla the Spider

Moving into a new house comes with all sorts of adjustments. I’ve lived on the coast for the last six years in an apartment that didn’t have any insects or arachnids. It was SUPER rare to ever see one inside. Moving inland to a house with all kinds of nooks and crannies means that I get to see them all the time. Oh boy!

But seriously now, I’m sick and tired of it.

I’ve only been here for three weeks and in that time, I believe I’ve neutralized more insects and spiders than I ever had to deal with during my tenure at my apartment. The biggest concern for me are the ants, which I’ve pretty well taken care of. But now, I’ve discovered a whole host of other creepy crawlies finding their way inside…somehow.

The other day, I left my skylight open (with a screen) and came home to find three wasps in the house. The bathroom and kitchen attract everything from moths and gnats, to earwigs and stinkbugs.

And let’s not forget about the spiders.

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New House Update!

my house

I have finally done it. I’ve bought a house, moved in, and am now going through the arduous challenge of turning it into a comfortable, safe, and familiar place to live. For those of you who have moved before, you know what kind of a task this is. For those of you who don’t…let’s just say that it’s a process and can be a stressful one at that.

Don’t get me wrong; I love my new home. There are post and beam ceilings, beautiful wooden floors, a nice deck, a three story barn, and many other lovely things. There are also lots of spiders, things to be cleaned, a lawn to be mowed, and many other things in need of attention. This has kept me going non-stop for the last few weeks. Which means I haven’t had much time for writing…or blog posts unfortunately.

I’m unbelievably sad that I haven’t been able to keep up on posts for the first half of the year. I hope when I’m a little more rested and perhaps summer isn’t in full swing that I’ll be able to really spend some time posting. I also haven’t written anything in a couple weeks and that is one of the things that makes me feel antsy.

Writing is not just a job; it’s a passion and it’s a calming influence. When I can’t write, I get upset, which is reasonable. I’m currently in the editing process of “The Collection”, painstakingly going over it time and again with advice from my writing group on what to alter. I had hoped it would be finished by the New England Authors Expo at the end of July, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. If anything, I’m going to shoot for a late August release date. At 60 pages, it’s a rather short read, but it’s one that I have put my all into, probably one of my favorite pieces that I’ve written. I want so badly to share it with everyone! And I can’t wait to start working on the follow up series for it… Oh yes. There are plans there.

New England Authors Expo: I was getting to that. July 27th, I’m going to be at a table at the Expo in the Danversport Yacht Club in Danvers, MA once more selling my wares. I’m going to have a few other things available besides books (bookmarks, perhaps t-shirts…?), so definitely stop by and check things out! The event goes from 4-9.

I realize that I’ve been saying over and over how I want to get back to writing posts and I haven’t been able to and I apologize for that. I want more than anything to be able to get back to a routine with Inspiration Through Music and Cooking Adventure posts. We’ll start seeing them hopefully return in regularity in August after the book show.

Until then, I could use some positive vibes exiling the creepy arachnids from my home.

Thanks in advance!

~KSilva