It’s been over a month since I’ve posted.
This time has not passed idly. While I haven’t stuck to my New Year’s resolution about blogging more consistently, I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping to everything else on it. And I’m proud of myself for those things. Life feels as though it’s on an upswing at the moment and I’m not going to complain about it (even as I suffer from a particularly debilitating head cold).
Instead of apologizing like I have many times over, I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve accomplished/started over the last few months or so.
Hello! Remember back in January when I said I was hoping to write all kinds of new Cooking Adventures this year? Well, that hasn’t exactly happened. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t been cooking new and exciting things in my kitchen, it just means that not all of them have been worthy tales to tell on the blog. And I’ve been busy; super busy. But I’m not going to get into all that business now. Instead, I’ll tell you the horrifying tale of trying to make this blasted grapefruit pound cake.
Now, the first thing to keep in mind is that this pound cake is delicious and was well worth all the effort it took to put it together. I’d found the recipe on Pinterest not too long ago and was interested in the idea of making some kind of dessert/breakfast crossover that didn’t have any chocolate. My hope was to give my parents some of it and neither of them eat chocolate.
The original recipe comes from FakeGinger. Thank you to Amanda for sharing the recipe with everyone.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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…
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!
God, how I’ve missed this.
It’s been months…MONTHS since I’ve had time to lose myself in the groove of making something intricate in the kitchen. Of course, I’ve cooked the occasional steak or chicken dish for dinner but never one I felt I could call truly creative. This is the first time in months I’ve had fun baking something.
As I’ve stated in nearly all my blogs this year, I’ve been going through some stressful changes. I’m a week away from closing on my first house and have been feverishly working on my novella, “The Collection” in order to have it ready to print in July. Today in particular, I was really feeling the pressure. I’ve been packing my apartment up bit by bit for over a week, my life slowly being boxed away and the place I’ve called home for the last five years is beginning to feel less and less so.
Similarly at my job, one of my wonderful co-workers is moving on to bigger and brighter things with a new job. I decided very last minute that I’d make him something as a going away gift. I’d seen a recipe for some Mocha Crinkle Cookies on Pinterest yesterday and decided that those would be the perfect thing to try. They are an uncomplicated cookie, one that doesn’t take too long to make and that I don’t have to stress about as far as clean up is concerned.
And damn if they’re not f-ing delicious.