Port-Con Recap

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(Pictured from left to right: Top; Scott Goudsward, Peter Dudar, Josiah Pitchforth, and Duane E. Coffill. Bottom: Dale Phillips, Katherine Silva)

This past weekend, I battled hordes of cosplaying people and visited Port-Con, an annual convention celebrating geek culture in South Portland. This was my second time doing an event like this and so naturally, I was a little nervous about some things going in. For one, I was pretty sure that some of the costumes I saw, I wouldn’t be able to unsee (I’m referring to you, man in the pink spandex suit). Some were outrageous, some were super cool, and some were unidentifiable for me. There were lots of anime characters at this con, which is one of the areas I’m not too versed on. I was able to recognize some video game characters here and there and some obvious Doctor Who impersonators (of which there were many). Didn’t see any Harry Potter which struck me as odd, though.

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PORT-CON THIS WEEKEND!

Guess where I am today?

PORT-CON!

That’s right! For all of you living, visiting, or passing through the Portland, Maine area, be sure to swing in to the Double Tree Hotel across from the Maine Mall and check out this celebration of Maine’s geek culture. Basically…anyone who loves anime, comic books, superheroes, horror, Doctor Who, video games and various other things will be THRILLED.

I was lucky enough to join some of my fantastic New England Horror Writers colleagues this weekend as we present at a few panels and have our books for sale at the show. I’m joined by Scott Goudsward, Peter Dudar, Dale Philips, Josiah Pitchforth, and Duane E. Coffil. I’m looking forward to checking out some of the other panels being offered (one of which is about world building) and also looking forward to spending some much needed time promoting my latest release, “Memento Mori: Book 3 of the Monstrum Chronicles”.

We’ll be doing 3 panels over the weekend, one each day.

Friday 2 pm: The Basics of Getting Published

Saturday 2 pm: The Pros and Cons of Writer’s Groups (I’m in this one!)

Sunday 3 pm: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing (I’m also in this one!)

Check out the Port-Con website for more information about the event, when to catch our panels, and where you can find our table in the Artist Alley!

Hope to see you here this weekend!

~KSilva

Inspiration Through Music: Blackmill

Music can rejuvenate. When you are feeling at your most tired, lonely, or sad, it can have the power to bring you back out of it, to lift you back on your feet and push you forward. As it has been raining a ridiculous amount this past week, I’ve fallen into that funk that affects you when you haven’t seen the sun in a while. I haven’t wanted to write or really work on anything. And now that the sun is out, I’m finding it very hard to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Thankfully, I’ve found a musical artist who can infuse me with that much needed dose of “You’re a bad ass. You can do this and then, have your fun.” That’s right. That musical remedy is none other than Blackmill, aka Robert J. Card.

Card is a twenty-something musician from the UK who has been producing music since he got an acoustic guitar for his eighth birthday–according to Blackmill’s official Facebook page. Blackmill is a more recent project of his, a blissful combination of dubstep and dance swirled with calm and speckled with house beats. I’m not entirely sure when I heard Blackmill for the first time, but I know it was while working on my latest book, “Memento Mori” and that the song “Evil Beauty” has been a major inspiration in that and other projects. There is just something about those melodic beats that makes it easier to concentrate, to push aside distractions both mental and physical (I’m looking at you, dirty dishes!) and sink into a story. Today, I’ll be sharing a couple of Blackmill’s tunes with you and describing what I see when I listen to them. Enjoy!

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Horror-FAIL Friday: My OLD Writing Part 10

Old Writing

Welcome back to My OLD Writing, a series for Horror-FAIL Friday where I go back and share some of my earlier (and often terribly written) stories along with side comments and observations wondering what on earth I was thinking. The current story deals with a group of over-dramatic college students at a hoity-toity photography school. Lila has the hots for her new biology teacher, Mr. McFadden, but also doesn’t realize that’s really NOT OKAY. Her best friend, Samus (randomly named after a Nintendo female heroine), is experiencing some strange flashbacks to his friend, Ross’s, death. McFadden is also experiencing these weird bouts while wide awake (trying to teach a biology class about cloud formations). And then, there’s Lila’s cat, Angelo, who needs as much supervision and attention as a dying patient in a geriatric ward for his so-called heart problems. Let’s rejoin the characters and find out what the hell this is all about. Maybe.

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Inspiration Through Music: Broken Age Soundtrack

Summer is coming up mighty fast here in Maine (although it did just snow in Presque Isle a few days ago. True story.). The thing of it is…as we start to have warmer and warmer weather, I find myself craving the need to work on my Night Time, Dotted Line sequel. Night Time, Dotted Line was a comedic novel I wrote a couple years ago involving two very different and complete strangers who embarked on a cross-country road trip together. It’s a novel of friendship and through the strange situations that these characters find themselves in, they ultimately learn that dealing with their own issues alone is causing more pain and that they need to open up and trust others. Wow. That doesn’t sound very comedic at all. But believe me, it is. When I finished the book, I knew that their story hadn’t been told completely; there needed to be one more book. And so, over the last couple years, I’ve been developing the story or how I’d like the story to go. Music is a HUGE inspiration for this. Recently, I played a wonderful game by Tim Schafer called “Broken Age”. Not only was I blown away by the art direction and story, but the music, composed by Peter McConnell, especially called to me. It reminded me of my characters and of the journey they still need to take.

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Inspiration Through Music: The Legend of Dragoon Soundtrack

I made a list not too long ago of my top ten video game soundtracks. I missed one. I missed a major one. I was so busy concentrating on newer games that I forgot one of my absolute favorites from my childhood. Legend of Dragoon is a brilliant RPG in a similar vein as Final Fantasy that revolves around a war between humans, a race called the Winglies, and, well, dragons. Think Game of Thrones: Young Adult edition. Though the game did deal with some pretty dark material here and there, it fast became a cult favorite for thousands. Its characters, story, and music have stayed with me for years. Occasionally, I’ll break it out and play it on the PS3 just to relive the adventures of Dart, Shana, Albert, Rose and the others.

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Inspiration Through Music: alt-J

I love a band that can inspire me no matter what genre I’m writing. Presently, I’ve found my mind leaping across three different writing projects in the last few weeks, trying to get work done on all of them and not go crazy at the same time. Between doing that, working full-time, and writing weekly blog posts…well…let’s just say I like to stay busy. alt-J has provided numerous opportunities to immerse myself in the story, no matter what the genre, and to get right down to business. This has been the case with a certain travel comedy sequel I’ve been planning (you’ll know the one), a short story directly linked to my latest book “Memento Mori” and my coup-de-grace of projects, my untitled apocalyptic novel. There is something undefined about alt-J’s style. Certainly one could imagine blazing across the country in a car, the wind in your hair from the open window as “Left Hand Free” blasts, or trekking along a deserted road in the wake of a catastrophe to “Hunger of the Pine”. That’s how amazing and diverse their music is and why I’ve been listening to them so much. Today, I’m going to share with you a few of their songs and describe what I see when I listen to them. Enjoy!

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Inspiration Through Music: Rayman 2: The Great Escape Soundtrack

I have fond memories of playing the PSOne console. It was a video game system that my brother and I shared and it was housed up in the attic of our house. The attic wasn’t creepy and dark like most would assume.  The sewing machine was up there, with a couple beds, my mom’s craft things, and the old Performa Apple computer. There would sometimes be daddy long legs scaling the sloped ceilings and sometimes you would have to curl up in a blanket in the winter months when you sat down to play a game. My favorite memory of playing Rayman 2 is with a hot cup of peach tea on a sunny afternoon. I let the sun and the tea warm me and played through the adventures of limbless Rayman, trying to defeat robot pirates as they took over his world, all to the sound of a diverse and playful soundtrack. I eventually sold the game in favor of another one (can’t remember which) and continued on. But that memory stayed with me: the sun, the tea, and the music from that game. I eventually tracked it down and bought it again and every once in a while, give myself a refresher of the environments and the fun tunes that accompanied this game.

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Inspiration Through Music: Tomb Raider

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.)

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Inspiration Through Music: Johann Johannsson

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”.

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