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.)
A couple years ago, I was introduced to a short animated film called Varmints. This 24 minute film covers themes of deforestation and urbanization in a touching and inspiring narrative. While I was impressed with the film, its music, composed by Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson, was what I truly enjoyed about it. The kind of music that is subtle and dark and lovely in its composition because it’s not trying too hard to be noticed. It complimented the imagery on screen and hinted at the darker themes that the film was highlighting. I kept an eye on his other projects and was excited to see that he composed for the film, “Prisoners”, a thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman. Both protagonists in their pursuit for justice and understanding, begin to slide down a blurring path or morality and find themselves doing things they never thought they’d be capable of. As of late, Johannsson has won a Golden Globe Award for his work on the Stephen Hawking biopic, “The Theory of Everything”.
There are those of you out there that have toiled with the idea of writing a horror story. It may have been just a quick campfire tale, a one-shot Creepypasta, a full-length novel, or even the background for a survival horror game. There are the cliche ways to go about doing this. Five teenagers meet at their house in the woods, one by one are separated, and end up dying horrible violent deaths (Only Joss Whedon has managed to re-invent this genre and do it like a boss, in my opinion). Then, there are the truly fun and unique ways to go about writing horror. This is what I enjoy. However, there’s always that daunting task of how to go about starting a project like this. Sometimes taking that first step can be the most intimidating thing you do. For the lazy, I was horrified to discover a wiki page on how to write a horror story. A WIKI. Are you freaking kidding me?
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 →
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.
Horror media, whether it is a film, video game, or book loves to employ jump scares. What exactly is a jump scare you may be wondering? Well, let’s put it this way: Say your main character is driving to a party at a friend’s house outside the city. All of a sudden, their car breaks down. They’re on an empty stretch of road and are forced to walk to find help. After trekking through the woods for over an hour, they happen upon a derelict mansion and go inside searching for a phone or something to aid them with fixing the car. The house is old, dark, and creaks with every gust of wind. The character digs out a flashlight and begins exploring. And then…this happens…
2015 is here and the Monstrum Chronicles Blog is undergoing a Re-Vamp!
Well, I’m about fifteen days late for saying “Happy New Year” but I’m going to say it regardless. “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” It’s been a bit of a rough one for me as I’ve been recovering from a nasty kidney infection. I’m finally getting back into the swing of things and am diving right into my plans for 2015. As some of you may remember, I’ve dedicated 2015 to the pursuit of writing, blogging, and enjoying myself versus struggling to try and publish anything new. I’m standing by that assertion about 85% of the way, ha ha.
I have plans to release a paperback copy of “Memento Mori: Book 3 of the Monstrum Chronicles” which released for Amazon Kindle in December of 2014. I don’t have a release date on that at the moment but I’m hoping it should be out within the first quarter of the year (January-April). In addition to the release of a paperback Book 3, I’m currently working on a short story chronicling the adventures of a minor character from “Memento Mori”. This, too, has no release date but it will only be available as an e-book when it’s finished.
And now, for the blog! I will completely admit that I slacked off majorly during the last quarter of 2014. I was so busy trying to get that book published, and once the holidays set in, it left me with little to no time to write blogs. Therefore, since I have more time to have fun with the blog this year, I’m going to return to some blogs that I’m sure have been missed as well as some new ones…
The Monstrum Chronicles has always been inspired by a variety of music. Whether it is rock, instrumental, or opera, I’ve listened to just about everything while working on these books. Today, I’m particularly happy to introduce to you a list of music that I found most inspirational while working on my latest novel, MEMENTO MORI. Today I’ll be sharing 13 songs from the unofficial playlist with you and one sentence about how the song correlates to the story. Enjoy!
THE MAKING OF “MEMENTO MORI” – The Creative Process
Make no mistake; this book was the most difficult book that I’ve ever written. A combination of unrealistic expectations, uncertainty about the direction of the book, and a whole host of other reasons are why I make that declaration. The goal was to have the book published by the end of the year; I was starting from scratch. I’d scrapped five different beginnings for the book including nearly two hundred pages of previously written material. A good deal of it was written before “Vox” was published. Want to know why?
Admit it: if you are an author or a professional writer in any capacity, then you have probably spent several nights (or days) looking like this while sleeping in a puddle of drool next to your computer:
Lately, I’ve been feeling like that a lot. This fall in particular, I’ve been feeling it hard. And it’s my fault, of course. Having booked five events practically back-to-back (three of which I was organizing) while working full time and trying to finish a manuscript to be published by December 7th… It kind of sounds like I’m becoming a literary masochist. I didn’t want to admit that it was too much to handle but here’s me admitting it now. I stressed myself out to a point where writing, editing…everything about writing a book hadn’t become fun anymore. It was just an obligation. And that isn’t why I wanted to become an author. It isn’t why I pursued that passion. This ended up being much more than just a “healthy dose of stress” and it got to a point that while on vacation…I couldn’t make myself relax enough to enjoy it. I had temporarily forgotten about how fun it is to be an indie author, to make connections with other authors and fans, and to continue aspiring to be a better writer.