Inspiration Through Music: Lisa: The Painful RPG

LISA Soundtrack cover art

Some of you probably caught my Horror-FAVE Friday blog featuring Lisa: The Painful RPG and all the things about it that make it an outstanding game. I briefly touched on the music composed by the game’s creator, Austin Jorgensen, or as he prefers to call himself, Widdly 2 Diddly. There is a very eclectic mix of tunes in Lisa that call for more atmospheric, scene-setting pieces, as well as outright pumped up beats. Since the game contains a lot of RPG battles, there’s a fair amount of dubstep, hiphoppy, rap, and rock type pieces and even some that are a bit more undefinable. The premise of the game revolves around Brad, who is living in a post-apocalyptic land called Olathe with some of his childhood friends. All of the women and children of the world have vanished in something known as the Flash. Brad happens upon a baby girl who he names Buddy and takes it upon himself to raise her and protect her. When she’s taken from him, he vows to get her back using any means necessary. Thus begins his humorous, depressing, hopeful, and often depraved journey.

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Horror-FAVE Friday: Lisa: The Painful RPG

Imagine you live in a world where all of the women and children have ceased to exist, where the land is teeming with gangs of men, some depraved, some violent, others just trying to find a place to hide, and remember the world the way it used to be. This is the world of Olathe in Lisa: The Painful RPG, created by Dingaling Productions a.k.a. Austin Jorgensen. In the game, we follow the story of Brad Armstrong, a down on his luck ex-martial arts teacher who has survived in the post-apocalyptic land of Olathe alongside his childhood friends. One day, he comes across a baby lying on the ground, but not just any baby; a baby girl. Realizing the implications of finding the only girl left in their world (and trying to atone for a mournful event in his past that involves his loathsome father, Brad brings the girl home and raises her. Eventually, word gets out about Buddy (the girl’s name) and she is taken from Brad. He sets out to find her and therein begins the strange, beautiful, and often times, perverted story of his quest to find her.

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Inspiration Through Music: Arvo Pärt

(image borrowed from Orthodox Arts Journal)

In my opinion, the most moving of music is always the music that contains no lyrics. Unless they are vague, lyrics tend to force a certain set of images into one’s mind when listening to a song. They set a theme, they set a story, and a character and really put walls up. They box in your ideas for what this song could be about and who it’s written for. Instrumental music is freer. There’s no male or female vocalist, there is no particular story being told other than the one the instruments tell, and you can feel anything from pain to pleasure as you listen. While I’ve had inspiration from a handful of songs with lyrics while working on books, I primarily listen to instrumental, soundtrack, or ambient music and can dive into a story so much deeper this way. As of late while working on my apocalyptic novel, The Wild Dark, I have fallen in love with a particular composer who I had not had the pleasure of listening to before: the wonderful Arvo Pärt.

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Updates (And a Headache)

I always have a headache

So…if you hadn’t already guessed, the lack of posts has been because I’ve been battling a pretty major headache the last few days. I thought the photo above was fitting because the new Avengers movie comes out at the end of the week! AHH! So exciting!

I should have a new Inspiration Through Music up for you next Monday, a new Horror-FAIL Friday up on Friday, and a surprise Cooking Adventure up for you all on Thursday to make up for this. Since this is practically the first time today that I haven’t been asleep or away from the computer, I thought I’d take a moment to update you on some new things happening around here.

My current WIP has been a dark quasi-apocalyptic literary fantasy thing for the last several months. I’ve actually been working on it for almost two years, taking significant breaks here and there to pursue other projects. After doing a recent poll on my facebook page, I decided to give it a new title, as it had been untitled for some time. It is now called “The Wild Dark” and I’ll be continuing work on it over the next several months.

The paperback version of “Memento Mori” has been delayed yet another month. My apologies to those who have been patiently waiting. It’s been a very busy last few months and I have been chipping away at getting it done. I’m looking at a late May release for that at the moment. What you might find exciting is that I will be having a book release/reading/signing for it at the Vose Library in Union on June 18th. More details will follow about this and I’ll be updating the website soon.

What else? I’m afraid that’s actually all for now. I’m sure I’ll remember something important after I’ve posted this. The pounding in my head is making it difficult for me to concentrate though. Rest assured if I have forgotten anything, I’ll update the post and put it in the spot hereafter.

~KSilva

Snow-pocalypse: Winter Storm Writing Fun

DSCN7076

So, if you live in Maine (or anywhere in New England for that matter), this picture above probably describes how you felt today. On three separate occasions today, I spent time digging out my door from impending snowdrifts, and even futilely attempted to dig out the staircase at ground level before the wind filled it all back in again.

Doing all that work in the bitter cold and cutting wind was, however, a welcome experience for me. Why? Because as I’ve now sat down with a nice hot cup of tea, I’ve returned to an apocalyptic story set during the Maine winter that I’d begun a couple years ago and lost my focus on. The characters have been speaking to me for a while as I’ve been working on other projects and I know I can’t ignore them any longer. I feel as though I’ve found the right mood, the right voice, and the right way to tell this story now and I can’t wait to really buckle down and work on it.

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Inspiration Through Music: Stateless

stateless

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.

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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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The Liger Plague by Joseph Souza, a review

Colonel Tag Winters races against the clock to figure out who could have unleashed a deadly virus on a tiny island off the coast of Maine. Roving gangs of murderous survivors, hoards of infected, and time are all against him through this glorious page-turner. Souza’s latest novel is a spectacle of beautiful and gruesome imagery, from the gorgeous Portland skyline and Maine’s rocky coasts to the gory, blood-soaked homes and roads of the fictitious Cooke Island. Accompanied by a cantankerous old islander, Versa, and a peppy sharp-shooting boy, Fez, Winters risks life and limb to save those he loves and get to the bottom of who could have released the Liger Plague. Having just finished reading Matheson’s “I Am Legend”, I’m reminded of the frightening realism of existing in a place of chaos, madness, and danger all on one’s own. Winters endures a mental tug-of-war battle weighing his own humanity against the prospect of killing innocents to keep those he loves safe. I will definitely be reading Book 2 when it comes out!

Want a copy? You can find it here on Amazon. And guess what? It’s 99 cents for a limited time!

~KSilva

Inspiration Through Music: The Walking Dead Game Soundtrack

Last year, I learned that one of my favorite television shows, The Walking Dead, would be getting a video game adaption made by Tell-Tale. I was very excited. Tell-Tale has made a few CSI games which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing and I knew that they would do a tremendous job on The Walking Dead. But when I saw the finished product, I was still blown away. This is one of those few video games that I count as a piece of artwork. It plays a lot like the game Heavy Rain in the sense that it’s more of an interactive story. The player has to make a lot of very difficult decisions that will affect his relationship with other characters later on in the game and can decide the fate of these other characters, too. The game’s voice acting was top-notch (especially Melissa Hutchinson who voiced Clementine), the characters were realistic and entirely believable, and the scenery and plot always had me guessing what was going to happen next. Most of all, there was some extremely atmospheric music composed by Jared Emerson-Johnson to fit this gritty and dark landscape, music that was so immersive that it pulled you into the game before you had a chance to take a breath. It made the time to make the tough decisions tougher and depressing moments even sadder. And even better, the music was never right up in your face. It was never something that you truly noticed. It assisted the scene and did so without becoming the center of attention. That is what good soundtrack music is. You don’t realize its there until… you do. My favorite Let’s Player HarshlyCritical just finished up a playthrough of The Walking Dead which can be found here. Today, I’ll be sharing 6 songs with you and show you what I saw when I listened to them.

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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!

~KSilva