David’s Haunted Library: Greylock

David's Haunted Library

27108969Alexei Georg was born to be a famous musician, his father was a pianist and Alexei’s only desire was to follow in his footsteps. Alexei has created a name for himself by writing and performing a sonata called October. At least that’s what people believe, Alexei has a dark secret. He found the sonata in an old 19th century Russian sea chest. When he performs it a dark creature appears and stalks him and now his career is going downhill.

To make matters worse Alexei is having an affair and his wife has been murdered with the evidence pointing to him. In order to revive his career Alexei plans to write a symphony based on the songs of the beluga whales while in isolation on Mt. Greylock. Though even alone on the mountain he can’t escape the creature that he has brought into the world or the accusations of murder. Alexei must face the darkness he has unleashed or it could use him as a conduit forever.

Greylock by Paula Cappa is a supernatural murder mystery where mythology and music create a dark mood. The music itself is like a character and what and how something is being played has an effect on everyone else in the book. It’s through the music that evil gets unleashed, but it’s also how Alexei expresses his emotions. Music is his life and it’s what makes him happy, even if some think he is not really that good at it. Alexei is a complicated character, at first I found I didn’t like him because he is having an affair, talks about murdering his wife and he is lying about the music he creates. Though as you get to know him you see him as someone who wants to live up to the family legacy and is willing to do anything to do so. This is a need that’s easy to relate to. By the end of the book you see a very different Alexei then you see a the beginning and its the character’s transformation that makes the book memorable.

Another thing I liked about Greylock was how the mystery unfolds. there are two different mysteries going on at the same time and in the case of the murder mystery there were times in the story where I was pretty sure that three different people were the murderer but I was wrong each time. This was enough to hold my interest throughout and the other mystery of who the dark entity is was just as compelling.

Greylock is not your average horror novel, it’s more personal. There is no over the top violence but you see Alexei deal with such personal horrors as abandonment, betrayal, wanting something he can’t have, his own insecurities as a musician and his need for fame. On a smaller level we also see the other characters in the book deal with the same issues and see what different paths their choices lead them in. Greylock is the kind of book you may have to read twice to catch all the subtle details, it’s about creating a mood and not in your face like some horror is. If you enjoy a good supernatural mystery then you should check it out.

Terror Trax: Space Monkey Death Sequence

 TerrorTrax
a0803936020_2         The world of music has changed a lot over the last 30 years. For example its easier for musicians to get their music heard, the computer can now be thought of as a musical instrument and electronic music has become a great way to tell a good story. I got an email from Dominic Francisco asking me to listen to an album be made which was inspired by The Twilight Zone episode People Are Alike All Over.
          Dominic remembered seeing the episode as a 12-year-old and being fascinated with it. As an adult, he saw it again and the effect was not the same, so he decided he wanted to make a piece of music that brought back the feeling of seeing People Are Alike All Over as a 12-year-old. It took Dominic 6 months to work on his album and its available for free on the internet by clicking here.
           The album begins with a series of sound effects and Rod Serling’s voice letting us know weth are entering the fifth dimension. Then we get into some music that gives you the feeling you are flying through space towards Mars. To add to the mood the music includes dialogue from the old Twilight Zone episode. The whole sound of the album has a dark nostalgic feel to it but at times the tempo picks up and some songs have a beat which makes me think of techno pop from the eighties. I also liked how even though I was listening to it off a computer it sounded like a record. You can tell that this project was a labor of love and I would love to find out how all the different sounds were achieved.
          I think my favorite song here was a song called diaphragm. It has an eerie feel to it and made me think of something you might hear in a horror movie.  This album tells a story, even if you are not familiar with the episode you can guess what’s going on from the music and even create your own story as you are listening. This album is like a trip through the Twilight Zone and if you enjoy ambient music and the feeling of being on another planet give it a listen.

Find What Works For You

updated serial scribbler

 

 

Finding what works for you as an author is the first step in also finding your voice. It takes experience, time, exploration, and trying different techniques that will keep you motivated to write.

The Ritual:
This is something that successful writers create for themselves. A ritual gets your mind ready to switch into “creative work mode”. This is similar to a bedtime or waking ritual. If you need to work with a cleared space, you could start there. Clean your workspace, or wipe down your desk. Add some music, or turn everything off. Whatever it is, do it religiously. This will trick your mind into getting ready for your word count.

Aromatherapy:
Believe it or not, this ties in with ritual…and not in the witchy-burn-small-animals-at-the-stake kind either (unless that’s your thing, which I hope it isn’t). Having the same thing to drink (coffee, tea…whiskey *cough*), keeping a snack, and even lighting a candle will tell your brain, “Hey! It’s time to work. Let’s get down to business.”

Goals:
Man, do you know how many times I have talked to authors that don’t have goals before they sit down at the laptop? While this may work most of the time, it won’t always. Having a finish line keeps you focused. Again, most successful authors know this. They set either a timer, or a word count goal. Definitely put this on your “I should try that” list if you haven’t incorporated it, yet.

Outline: (Optional)
Some authors find that an outline helps them organize their thoughts. It doesn’t work as well for me, but if I start to drift or lose the story, I do try to outline it so I can stay on track. An outline isn’t set in concrete. You can move things around if they don’t work, or delete them. It’s up to you (and your editor).

Force it:
Yeah, I said it. Force yourself to write. You don’t have to force yourself to write your current work in progress, but find something else to rinse your palate. Do a writer challenge, find an interesting picture and tell the story you see, rewrite an old short story, or just blog about how you don’t feel like writing.

And last but not least…

Do not give up. No one sits down all the time and writes. Even Shakespeare took some personal time (hello? muses?). Just make sure that you come back to it and don’t stop. The more you write, the more your brain fires up, and the better you get at your craft. Whatever it is that works for you? Do it.

What things do you include in your writing ritual to get you in the mood? If you listen to music, what music is your “go to” when you write? How do you get over the writer’s blues when you fall into the pit?

Terror Trax: Top 5 Vampire TV Songs

TerrorTrax

So, you know how it is. You watch your favorite TV series over and over again and the parts you either missed recording on VCR 20 years ago, or the episodes you can’t afford because the DVD set is $80, you scavenge on YouTube clips. But even after all those years, their songs stick with you. Sometimes cheesy, sometimes moody, always entertaining, here are my TOP FIVE from five great shows that I just can’t get out of my head.

  1. Kindred: The Embraced—theme song
    Sure, this is just instrumental, but every time I hear it I at once feel empowered, inspired, and ready to fight. I also loved watching Julian dissolve into the grave every episode.

  1.  Moonlight – Mazzy Star, “Into Dust”
    This short-lived TV show of a let’s face it, a remake of Forever Knight, didn’t make much of a splash in the ratings, but for us fang-addicts, we gobbled it up in a time when vampire TV was dead…and not in a good way. With such little time to impress us, I was surprised to hear one of my favorite bands, Mazzy Star, in the mix. At the end of a very thrilling fourth episode, Beth allows Mick to feed on her after he almost dies. Afterward, they both feel more attached than ever and the show seems like it will let them come together. As with all these vampire-mortal series, the vampire pulls away. But is the song “Into Dust” speaking of Mick’s almost dusting after prolonged exposure to the sun? Or their almost relationship?

  1. Blood Ties—theme song, “Live Forever” by Tamara Rhodes
    Almost a silly spoof of a vampire-cop show with the cop being the “ugly girl who has to wear glasses” (she’s totally not), this show grows on you if you give it a chance. And the theme song, although not my regular sort of style has an edge to it I like.

Who wants to live forever? Who wants to stop the sun? …it’s you, it’s me, it’s in our blood.

  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer—“Rest in Peace” by Joss Whedon, sung by Spike
    “Once More with Feeling” is my all-time favorite Buffy episode if only because of this song. I’m not a big fan of the show because I’m not much into the slayer aspect, but I do enjoy it because of Spike, Willow, Oz, Giles, and Xander. This episode was definitely a poignant one. Buffy and Spike kiss, Buffy lets the cat out of the bag about them RIPPING here from heaven, and…this song. And thank you Loren Rhoads for reminding me of it. 🙂

And the top #1 vampire television song for me is…

“Fan Kill” by Shelly Goldstien, Fred Mollin, and Stan Meissner from Forever Knight Season 1, Episode 15. Nick and Schanke investigate a murder taken place in a rock star’s hotel room. She just happens to have a hit called “Fan Kill” and the murder victim? You guessed it, a fan. But as with all of these episodes, someone else is the real killer. This episode also includes the song “Dark Side of the Glass” by Stan Meissner and Lori Yates which sets Nick to thinking of his isolation from the mortal world. Oh, and you get to see Janette and Lacroix dressed as fifties diner employees. Pretty funny. Watch the full episode below.

Do you have a favorite vampire television show music moment? Please share!

 

Alice in Wonderland, in Video

I don’t know about you, but when I first saw Tom Petty’s “Don’t Come Around Here no More” video I was creeped out–in a good way! Imagine a tea party where you are made of cake and the guests consume you! Since then I’ve always loved to watch “Alice” inspired music videos. Some are creepy, some are not, but they are all worth the watch. From cannibal tea parties to accidental falls down the rabbit hole, I hope these vids will inspire the creepy Alice inside you to come out. And if you’re a dude, rock that horror Mad Hatter like we know you can!

 

Bowie, Now and Forever

-Mimielle
labyrinth-jareth-clock

David Bowie, 69, died of liver cancer at home in New York on January 10th, 2015 two days after both his birthday and the release of his current album Blackstar. He was born in Brixton, south London, England in 1947.

You will read all the longer obits if you are that sort of fan but READING will fall short if you aren’t so GO LISTEN, GO WATCH.

Almost everything he made was meant to be seen, heard, experienced, certainly not read ‘about’ except as publicity.

Ok, ok…I have a few words…
David Bowie was occasionally everyone. He was a diamond, a chameleon, an alien and every(wo)man. Sometimes all at once.

He could be me, my lover or my best friend, in the form of a song…didn’t you feel that way? Everyone I know has a ‘favorite David Bowie song”, persona or even a favorite era. Wikipedia has a pretty thorough entry that I will never read because I only watch the film footage and listen…and listen.

He was daring and experimental in his music always, and as theatrical in his stage shows as he was on the film sets. I suspect he was always an actor even when no one was looking, just for the fun of it. As a stage actor he needed no makeup or prostheses to play The Elephant Man and yet on the screen he was the beautiful Goblin King we all adored. We joked that sometimes he was probably Tilda Swinton. 🙂 (and we were right!)

Inventing new characters for each era, quiet and sober or deranged on drugs and back again, he made music, films, he wrote and made art. Refusing most awards, he crafted to make a life he wanted.
On his deathbed yesterday, he was writing. He lived the life he chose, he was brave, daring and true. Or on Tuesdays, spoofing, ironic and “a nasty character indeed”.

From Ambient music with Brian Eno to “Under Pressure” with Queen and everything into the modern age, he expressed for us all along the way, giving us his glam, his release and catharsis, his new beginnings, the characters and reinventions, taking us along on his self-improvements, dragging us down aurally for the descents into hellish chaos.

His influence on modern culture began in the late 1960’s and will continue to be legend. His characters will live forever.

He will always be my Blackstar, high and bright among my Heroes for not just one day but all the days. Oh, and officially a spider.
Heteropoda davidbowie

Heteropoda davidbowie
Photo: Senckenberg Museum of Natural History