This is not the first time I’ve done a dance with Tomb Raider music before on this blog. Earlier, I talked about how much the soundtrack to “Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness” (composed by Peter Connelly and Martin Iveson) had inspired several scenes for my latest book in The Monstrum Chronicles and earlier projects (including an earlier version of Night Time, Dotted Line when it was a thriller and not a comedy.) Admittedly, the Tomb Raider series is one of my favorites from my childhood, especially the first two games. When I discovered I could play the games in the CD player and listen to all of the different musical tracks, I was beyond excited. I was writing a fantasy novel about cats at the time (NOT the vampire/cat book…Ugh) and listened to these songs as inspiration. Losing myself in a song allows me to imagine places that don’t seem to be of earthly creation. It’s easier to create a place that is more sinister, or magical, or mysterious if there is a distraction from my everyday surroundings. At the time, that was being bullied at school and listening to my brother practice his trumpet. (Sorry, bro.)
I cannot say enough good things about this game. It’s just…kind of perfect. The artwork is phenomenal, the atmosphere is grim and depressing, the characters multi-faceted and intriguing, the plot easy to follow and engaging, and the music…is absolutely divine!
While Tormentum: Dark Sorrow isn’t strictly in the horror genre, it does have some dark fantasy elements to it and definitely features some horrifying plot-points and imagery. It tells the story of a nameless protagonist who finds himself caged by an empire set on making people suffer for the sins they’ve committed, often through gruesome torture. The protagonist doesn’t remember what he’s done, nor does he remember his life before being captured. In addition to seeking an escape from his captors, he seeks to understand what led him down this dark road, often encountering tests of his morality along the way.
While stumbling across the internet as I often do in search of new and wonderful recipes, I happened upon one for some delicious sweet potato, bacon turkey burgers. I mean…how have I been existing without such a marvelous concoction as this in my diet? There’s bacon IN the burger! I had to give it a try.
A Special Cooking Adventure for “National Pancake Day”
A rather late entry for the day, but I just had to get this special Literary Cooking Adventure up before going to bed. I cooked, filmed, edited, and uploaded everything this evening and now I’m dreadfully tired. Still, a couple of chocolate chip pancakes really hit the spot this evening, plus I still have batter for many many more in the days to come. That’s what I like to think about. Tomorrow, when I get up on yet another cold and snowy morning, at least I’ll have pancakes to look forward to.
Just a couple weeks ago, I introduced you folks to a “How to Write Horror” Wiki that had some rather generalized ideas about writing the genre. Most tried to make it sound as easy as riding a bike. On top of the “you just need to do this, this, and this” trope, it was clearly written by someone with a misguided sense of writing in general. Need I remind you of the “don’t forget the details” line…
This week, continuing with our instructional foray into the world of horror writing, I stumbled across this Instructables page about how to write horror. This one blows the other one out of the water. Not only are the ideas cliched, there are places where the writer either forgot which word to use or used spell-check and didn’t re-read their stunning how-to masterpiece. Case in point: a line that says “…a person despaired and appeared again…” So, the person went into a massive sob-fest causing them to go invisible, and then they reappeared, good as new?
It’s elementary! I ran across a delicious-looking recipe a few weeks ago for Bourbon Brownie Petits Fours which I couldn’t pass up. I ended up tweaking the recipe a tad by using Kahlua instead of Bourbon and substituted some actual coffee for some of those coffee crystals. I ended up sharing several with people at work who told me “they’re the best brownies I’ve EVER had”. Sounds like it was worth all the work to me!
While the end result on these petits fours was grand, the process to create them ended up taking most of the afternoon (filming certainly added to the time). When I was finished, the entire kitchen was coated in chocolate (as was I), and the sink was piled high with dishes. And then, I discovered I was pronouncing the name of the dish wrong. As I said in the video, “I’m a writer. I took French in school. Pathetic.”
I decided to switch up our Horror-FAIL Friday blog to now include the occasional Horror-FAVE Friday, a collection of film, books, and video games that I felt did a superb job of fitting into the horror genre, even redefining it in some cases.
A couple years ago, while browsing along on youtube (as several of us do in our boredom), I ran across the first part for this dark narrative game called “The Cat Lady”. The art style was funky and the concept dark and fairly depressing. The further along I watched the more I became engaged in the protagonist’s endeavor to figure out what kind of world she was in. The Cat Lady tells the story of Susan Ashworth, who, unable to live after a heart-wrenching tragedy decides to end her life. Except she doesn’t die. She awakens in a strange world, inhabited by dead doppelgangers of herself and a creature disguising itself in the skin of an old woman that calls itself “The Queen of Maggots.” It soon becomes clear to Susan that the only way she can leave is by accepting a deal from this Queen; root out evil in the real world by searching for the Parasites, individuals with extreme darkness in their hearts.
I was blown away not only by the story, but by the characterization, music, and art style of this game. It has become one of my favorite examples in the horror genre by far. As visual and interactive media, it’s one of my favorite games that I’ve encountered in recent years. Now, I wish there was a book version.
Here, you can watch Youtube Let’s Player HarshlyCritical play through The Cat Lady.
Interested in picking it up for yourself? Hop on over to the official website from Screen 7 and Harvester Games.
I live in Maine where we’ve been getting an abundance of snow… Basically, a snowstorm every couple of days. In between all of this insane shoveling and toning of my shoulders and arms, I’ve been inspired to do more baking, especially literary themed baking. And, yes, I have been itching to do this particular idea for a few weeks now.
Every good horror story, film, or game has a story behind it. It doesn’t need to be intricate in order for it to have good atmosphere and be frightening…the premise just needs to be plausible. When a game tells you that the character had heard about a haunted mental hospital and, despite being warned, just HAD to go there… that’s not really the best way to start out. There isn’t even a reason given for why this character felt so compelled to go there. Also, saying that the character blacked out upon arrival and woke up later to find that he was in the exact same place he fainted in…isn’t really jarring information. But, as we delve further into the “mystery” of this game following HarshlyCritical, the story continues to hand us plot points that don’t quite add up.
Formatting with Microsoft Word: A Guide to Frustration
Yes, the above picture sums up my reaction every year I must format and layout a paperback with Microsoft Word. I am currently undergoing this mission again as I work on the paperback version of my latest novel “Memento Mori”. I am fully aware that there are other programs I can use for this task; but since I’m practically surviving on rice and bread right now, I’m not in the position to make that kind of change. I’m also aware that there is a 2013 version, which doesn’t seem to have cleared up some of the issues that have caused me problems in the predecessor. After having spent a substantial amount of time dealing with page alignment, headers and footers, page numbers, glossary writing, and the always tricky page breaks, I’ve decided to create a guide to how I feel about each one of them. Continue reading →