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.
That feeling you get after you’ve been in bed with a terrible headache ALL WEEKEND…and now, it’s your day to go back to work and you SUDDENLY feel better?
That’s been my weekend, folks.
I managed to get the most demonic headache, a combination of sinus, stress, and muscle all rolled up in a ball and tossed at my head. The sinus part was caused by a Calamondin tree that I have in my apartment (or should I say “had”). The Calamondin is a strange mini fruit tree that has a tiny orange fruit that tastes much like a lime. For some reason, despite it being November, this tree has been rapidly blooming and growing more little oranges. Our weather here in Maine has been warmer than it should be and for some reason, this tree is just absolutely loving it. Problem is that the pollen from these little flowers is super potent and my entire apartment smells like them. One day of sitting here breathing it in made my head feel like I was in Willy Wonka’s tunnel of craziness. The tree is now at my parent’s house after my mom gratefully came and picked it up.
So! It has been quite the busy summer! Aside from kicking it back at the wonderful New England Authors Expo in July, I also had the chance to get in on the action of New Hampshire’s Granite State Comic Con! What a joy that was! I manned (or shall I say womaned?) the New England Horror Writers table with my fellow authors Scott Goudsward, Rob Watts, Gordon Bean, and Matthew Bartlett on September 13th and 14th, a midst a sea of Harley Quinns, Arya Starks, and Starlords. I even had a run-in with one of my worst fears…one that I couldn’t have even imagined would be present: a stilted devil clown that continued to haunt me no matter which direction I looked in. I had copies of my Monstrum Chronicles series present and was promoting the upcoming 3rd book in the series, Memento Mori. I made a few sales, enjoyed getting to know my fellow writers, and checked out some of the many other vendors at the show. (I came close to getting vampire fangs. Maybe next time?)
Oooooooo! What do we have here? A rogue Cooking Adventure after several months without one. For that, you have my sincerest apologies. All I can say as that I’ve had a pretty full schedule. But now that things are finally starting to slow down, I’m intending to get back into my “one new recipe a week” routine. This week, since Halloween is right around the corner, I decided to get together with Cooking Adventure vetran, Celena, and do yet another one of our stupendous cakes. This time, though, we got some frightful inspiration from this boo-tiful cake made by Martha Stewart. Though I had every intention of making the cake just as big and glorious as Ms. Stewart’s, we were unable to because of some crippling ingredient-missing happenstances. And let’s not forget the marshmallows. Tasty little suckers that they are, they are not the most cooperative treats. It’s almost as if they were really possessed.
Hello! Long time no see, right? Yes, I’ll admit that I’ve been away from the blog for quite some time… and that I said I wasn’t going to do that. That being said, I’m really going to try my hardest to get back into a routine of blogging, starting with a little about what’s been happening that last couple weeks.
Last Saturday, we kicked off our 2nd Annual Mid-coast Halloween Readings with a reading in Portland at Slainte Wine Bar and Lounge! The dark atmosphere is cozy and dark, perfect for us to settle in and tell some frightening stories for the evening. And did I mention there’s some wonderful Shipyard Pumpkinhead on tap for a little liquid courage. Indulging in a glass of that was perfect and made me feel a little less nervous about getting up on stage and introducing everyone. I was joined by fellow authors Kate Cone and E.J. Fechenda, who have their own reading series that they hold at Slainte, Darcy Scott, and April Hawks. The evening was a major success! We had a bunch of people come and listen to us as well as win prizes from our free raffle. The pictures below (featuring E.J., Darcy, and Kate), while grainy and from cellphone cameras, are the best that I have to catalog the evening. Being so dark in there, it was tough to get very good resolution.
First off, let me say that this was probably the most anti-climactic cooking adventure that I’ve ever done. I mean, who doesn’t get excited about the prospect of glow-in-the-dark cupcakes? Huh? It’s almost magical. And while I’d hoped to have them done for Halloween, I was struck down with the demonic cold. Since I’ve been fighting this cold off for the last month, it proceeded to completely knock the stuffing out of me for a full four days, including Halloween. Believe me, folks, I was NOT happy. Halloween is pretty much my favorite holiday and I was in bed by 7:30 sleeping off an evil migraine along with the cold. I still haven’t quite gotten rid of it yet. There is a tickle that just stays with you in your throat… and it only gets bad when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone. So, getting over the cold delayed actually making the cupcakes. When it was all said and done… I’ve got to say, it wasn’t really worth it.
There are several songs out there that are readily associated with horror: Tubular Bells, the Poltergeist theme, the Jaws theme… and many others. And then, there are those songs that you wouldn’t necessarily consider to be horror themes on their own. But, once you hear them in a scary context, they no longer seem innocent. Your mind has immediately returned to the place where you first heard that song and it immediately fills you with fear. Take the Deliverance theme. On its own, it’s a down-home plucking show-down between a guitar and a banjo. Then… you watch the movie. And you understand. If you ever hear that song somewhere out in the middle of the woods, by yourself, you’d probably run a quarter-mile without ever looking back. Such is the case with this week’s inspiration through music.
I went through a staggering number of songs, picking out the best ones that I feel have a horror touch to them. These songs may seem completely normal but when given a frightening image to accompany them, are no longer safe. Warning: If you see a song you like here, then don’t read beyond that. Because I’m probably going to ruin it for you. If you don’t care, then read on! The following four were the top picks!
COOKING ADVENTURE # 42: Apple Cider Caramel Cookies
So, readers, once again we find ourselves at the beginning of a Cooking Adventure that was for lack of a better phrase, “easy as pie.” I had decided that I was going to make some Apple Cider Caramel Cookies for a couple of readings that were to happen at the Camden and Rockland Public Libraries in Maine. Now, I had figured I’d have enough time to figure out what I was going to read, bake the cookies, make a poster board featuring all of the readers, and prepare my introduction ahead of time. But in all reality, working on both days of the reading had me doing everything the night before the first one was to begin. I ended up writing a ten page segment to read AND baking cookies. Because I rock at multi-tasking. I actually made two batches of these cookies because they were such a hit at the first reading. However, it was during the making of the second batch in which I encountered a supernatural apple cider phenomenon that I will call “The Twister”. In lieu of the Frankenstorm that’s about to hit here in New England, I felt that the title was fitting for this piece.
For those of you whom are long-time readers of Inspiration Through Music, you’ll know that I’m an absolute fan of original score soundtracks. Anything instrumental that has a creepy, mysterious, or dark tinge to it immediately becomes a favorite of mine. So of course, in the wonderful month of October and Halloween to come, I thought it best to assemble a collection of original score music from Horror/Thriller movies that I thought were over-looked and, to this day, are kind of understated. I made the list by going through movies that genuinely frightened me (whether they be horror or close to it) and came up with this list of six songs. Below are the things I see when I listen to them.
Now, before we begin, there is something you need to know. At the conclusion of this adventure, my friend, Celena, and I have decided that whoever made the original cake, the one that’s perfect with absolutely no frosting errors, must have cheated somehow. They had to have been a professional cake baker. Because the directions for making this thing are beyond easy… for the most part. But seeing just the four pictures and having no directions to go on is a little iffy, too. And that’s what we were working with. The tale that follows is a real account of the frightening and haunting experiences that happened to Celena and I on that fateful night of the Great Pumpkin Cake. Don’t get scared now.