Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On New Year Resolutions

There's a decent amount of history in regard to New Year resolutions. Many cultures and religions view the New Year (whenever it occurs) as a time of rebirth, a time to change.

I've always found resolutions to be, well, futile. When I was younger, I'd make them and not keep them. Or I'd keep them for a few months before I got distracted by the ins-and-outs of daily life. And then I'd feel bad about not keeping the resolution.

I no longer make the type of resolutions that seem to abound this time of year. There are no resolutions to lose weight, no promises to exercise five times a week or write 1,000 words every day.

For several years now, I've made the same resolution at the beginning of each year: to enjoy myself.

This is a promise to myself.

I'm prone to forget that life is meant for living. And enjoying.

I get caught up in the daily grind. I come down hard on myself for being so flighty with my hobbies and passions. I compare my day to day existence with other people's highlight reels. I question where I stand in my career status, my education level, my writing, even though I know better.

I need to be reminded that more than one hobby is a boon, mentally and physically. I need to be reminded that I decided some time ago that I don't want fiction writing as a career but as something I do for myself (though if other people can enjoy it and get something out of it, I revel in that).

And I need to remember that there is no right place—in my career, my education, or in my level of adulthood (some people seem convinced I should own a house by now)—that I should be at this point in my life.

The important thing is that I'm enjoying where I am, who I'm with, and what I'm doing.

So that's the promise I make for 2014.

To enjoy my continuing journey. The specifics of this year will vary from last. I will face new challenges and moments where I'll need to reel myself back in with the reminder of my yearly goal.

What's your resolution?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Moments in Time: Midwinter

I turned 30 this past spring. I think it's made me a little maudlin. I've found myself lost in thought about places I've been, people I've known, things I've done more often than usual throughout the year.

As Yule and Christmas have drawn closer, I've started taking stock, about as far back as I could easily remember.

1990. 7 years old, entrenched in the Mojave. Holidays on base are occasionally interrupted by the roar of air planes. Eventually, you stop hearing them. Christmases are chilly in the desert. There is no snow. The sky is cold blue, cobalt, missing clouds. I roll outside in brand new skates, looking up.

1992. Southern Georgia. It's warm. The nights are cool. We carry wood from the pile in the backyard, drop the logs on porch before we bring them into the house. Our tree takes up a whole corner of the living room and with the companionship of the fireplace looks like something out of a Christmas card; add in a Christmas kitten, who will be with me for the next 11 years of her life, and you have one.

1993. Oberkail, Germany. It's not the first time I've seen snow, but it is the first time it's snowed where I live. The roads turn to ice in winter; the cow pastures, so green throughout the rest of the year, are drenched in white. We go sledding on the steepest pasture, starting early in the morning. By afternoon, the slope we've created has turned to ice and we have to brake with our feet to avoid slamming into the mean wooden fence.

1995. Sonoran Desert. Seven years from now, I will have spent most of my life in deserts. This one is different from the Mojave. Lusher, greener. But the winter days are similar, grey one moment and cobalt blue the next. I miss the snow, but welcome the ability to walk around unencumbered by winter clothes.

1999. My first Solstice. I light silver candles on my altar, burn a sweet incense and welcome the longest night of the year.

2003. East again. My boyfriend, (who will, years later, become my husband), and I celebrate the solstice. We go to see The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and stay up all night. We go outside to greet the rising of the sun, the turning of the year toward spring.

2007. A town away from my parents. My boyfriend and I in our own apartment (though it leaves something to be desired). My own tree, my own decor but Christmas day will still be spent under the roof I used to call home.

2011. Several cities away. This is the first year I will spend Christmas Day in my own apartment. Just me, my husband, and the four cats. My first year cooking the holiday meal and it turns out good, though there seems to be something missing.

Over the next few years, I improve. I find that missing midwinter magic.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NaNoWriMo and Hiatus

So, fellow NaNoWriMo participants....how'd it go? (I know, it's mid December. You've probably blocked it out of your minds by now.) Did you fall into any plot holes? Write yourself into a corner (or off a cliff)?

Despite my strong start, November ended in a bit of a fizzle. I could blame travel or other projects I had going, but it was mostly my realizing that I my novel idea - as it was - was probably not going to make it to 50,000 words.

So instead of muddying up the plot and the main characters I'd come to really enjoy, I left off around 32,000 words.  I long to spend more time with these characters and this world, but I want it to be time well spent. Time not rushed.

I hope to finish the first draft in January. Or later this month. But considering I'm currently wrapped up in an online class for a new job, it'll likely be the former.

Which brings me to the short hiatus. Due to said class/training and the new job, the blog will likely be on hold for a while. (Though I have some posts drafted, I don't know that they're ready for public consumption.)

So, look for new stuff around the first of the year.

I'll see you then.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Everybody's A Critic

Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. ~Aristotle

So, I've been thinking a lot about rejection. Between job hunting and submitting fiction, rejection is pretty much what I'm breathing these days.

More to the point, I've been thinking about what often heralds (or follows along) with rejection. Criticism.

All writers face criticism—it's part of the lifewhether it's from other writers, friends, family, spouses, agents, annoyed readers, managing editors, or even random passersby. For every person who likes what you write, a handful will be indifferent and a couple will hate it (and they tend not to be shy about letting you know they hate it).

Part of being a writer is learning how to deal with that criticism. Because if you don't find a healthy way to deal with it, it can tear out your soft, pulpy-pink insides and leave you questioning your abilities and wondering why the hell you're putting yourself on display.

So how do you deal with it?

In my experience, it's easier to deal with criticism once you have an understanding of what constitutes effective criticism and embrace this fact: not all criticism is equal.

Look at it this way: at the end of the day, we're all critics. We know what we like, what we don't like, what we're indifferent to. But just as our personal likes and dislikes don't give us a magical scepter of objective artistic judgement, they don't make us effective critics.

Effective criticism requires time, reason and a willingness to converse.

And dealing with criticism means you need to be learn to separate the crap from the cream. Of course, then you need to learn how to digest the cream. And writers are notorious for being lactose int...wait...where was I going with that metaphor?

Never mind.

In this "Everybody's A Critic" series of posts, I'll talk about the types of criticism, what makes a good critic, and throw out some bits of advice I've picked up here and there on dealing with and responding to criticism.

But until we get there, how about a few anecdotes?

What's some of the most amusing criticism (good or bad) you've ever received? Did it help? Did it hurt? 

Look out for: Part II - Everybody's A Critic: Types of Criticism.

Monday, November 18, 2013

NaNoWriMo: Halfway Point

As of this posting (not writing, because I'm writing this three weeks ago), we've passed the halfway marker for the NaNoWriMo deadline. 

At this point, if I've not been driven entirely mad, the odds are in favor of my being in some kind of creative fugue state, not completely aware of what day it is or what I've done over the last three weeks. 

I'm (me, in the past) just guessing. But this is how I've spent every NaNoWriMo that I've won. 

Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is an exercise in dedication. To put it lightly. Because all of the normal little daily needs and interruptions in your life don't suddenly disappear because you're "writing a novel." 

In addition to the daily word count that needs cracking: The day job needs doing. The apartment still needs cleaning. The cats still need tending. The husband still wants attention. The kids (if you have them) need caring for. There's dinner to cook, bills to pay, groceries to buy. 

If you're lucky, the people you live with will help pick up the slack. Though if you're anything like me, there's a control-freak side that finds it hard to let other people take care of things because they won't do it right. (I'm told that actually translates to: they won't do it like I do it. But I maintain that I do it the right way, so....) 

I digress.

If I've stuck to my guns, I should be over halfway to the 50,000 word count. Odds are, I'm running behind (because there's always something that happens in November to throw me off my game).

Maybe I'll win. Maybe I won't. 

Hopefully, I'm enjoying the ride.

I'll see you in December.

Monday, November 11, 2013

NaNoWriMo Prep: Setting

I've had the opportunity to live in and visit a variety of different places across the U.S. and Europe. So when it comes to setting, I have a number of experiences to pull from.

I'm setting this year's NaNo novel in the Tempe and Phoenix areas of Arizona. (I needed an artsy district for one of my characters and Tempe's Mill Avenue bubbled up in the back of my brain.)

Madison St. Phoenix, AZ

I spent over seven years in the Phoenix area, so I'm familiar with the ambiance: the hustle and bustle of the people and the traffic, the oppressiveness of the summer heat, the pleasant chill of winter, the sights and scents and sounds of the dessert city.

What I'm not as familiar with (it's been almost 10 years since I set foot in Phoenix) is the exact location of certain places, the orientation of streets, how far it would be to travel from this point to that.

Enter Google Maps.

With a little research (studio and condo possibilities in the Mill Avenue area plus a place in downtown Phoenix where an old, abandoned, but not yet condemned, hotel wouldn't be out of place) I was able to come up with the general area in which my story takes place.

Long live the Internet age.

Even if you're not familiar with where your story occurs, don't let that stop you from experimenting. It's easy enough to run through Wiki articles on various cities to determine things like climate, native plants and animals, industries, etc. And using Google Maps can help you fill in some of the mundane details until you can get secondhand knowledge from someone who lives in the area or (even better) experience the location for yourself.

Do you set your stories in places you've visited or lived? Do you prefer real settings or towns/cities that you've made up? 

Monday, November 4, 2013

NaNoWriMo Prep: Novel Soundtracks

I've written about this specifically in: Gabriel's Playlist.

It also goes along with my thoughts on creativity (and how creation feeds off creation).

One of my favorite things—because I love music and "mix tapes"—is making up soundtracks for my stories or characters.

I don't always physically make a playlist (because it is time consuming) but I usually have various songs in mind, as knowing what type of music my character likes gives an added dimension to their personality. Additionally, having a list of songs that, were my story a movie, might play in the background, can help set up a scene.

With NaNoWriMo, I usually begin my prep work weeks ahead so I have the time to consider my characters and their relationships, consider (some) of my novel's scenes and general ambiance, and physically put together a soundtrack that illuminates those elements.

If I have the inspiration, sometimes I make album covers (which can also be used as book covers later on). But that's extra flavor. And I'm a bit of a Photoshop junkie, so it feeds my addiction.

As I'm writing this, I haven't completed this year's soundtrack, but I've compiled a short list of music that's helping me get excited about what I'll be writing in November. Below is a sampling.

Do you make soundtracks or do any kind of musical prep-work for your stories or characters?

When You Were Young - The Killers
You sit there in your heartache
Waiting on some beautiful boy to
To save you from your old ways

Keep the Streets Empty For Me - Fever Ray
A lot of hope in a one man tent
There's no room for innocence
Take me home before the storm
Velvet mites will keep us warm

In All My Dreams I Drown - Jessica Lowndes, Terrance Zdunich
His berth, it rocks, heave ho, heave ho
The ocean gnashed and moaned
Like Jona will be swallowed whole
And spat back teeth and bones

Thinking of You - A Perfect Circle
Lying all alone and restless
unable to lose this image
sleepless, unable to focus on
anything but your surrender

Friday, November 1, 2013


It's that time of year again, dear readers.

Despite the tough time (read: near mental break and a blatant inability to come up with a decently organized and plotted story) I've been having with my creative writing this fall, for the last month I've been kicking around the idea of participating in NaNo.

I have a working title. I have two main characters. I have a handful of peripheral characters.

I have no plot. (Well, that's not entirely true. I have a vague plot that doesn't seem that strong.)

Granted, that's never stopped me before. But does the world really need one more unfinished novel?

Furthermore, do I really need one more 50,000 word (but still not quite finished) monster cluttering up my hard drive (flash drive, office shelf)?

The Magic 8 Ball says "my sources say no."

But who's going to listen to a collection of plastic and water?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Top 5 Scary Movies (AKA: Movies That Actually Creeped Me Out)

Just about anyone who knows me will tell you I don't scare easily. I can watch a horror movie and go straight to bed afterward with no ill effects.

But, every now and then a movie comes along that sinks into my psyche and has me looking over my shoulder and flicking on the lights before I cross the threshold of a room. (Possible spoilers ahead.)

5. Insidious

I watched this movie by chance. It was a lazy evening, I was half asleep and it was the only thing on Netflix that looked remotely interesting.

This movie plays on the idea that it's not houses which are haunted, it's people.

Scariest moment: The old lady. I won't say more because it comes toward the very end of the movie and I would be spoiling everything.

4. 28 Days Later

My husband and I went to see this when we were dating. We were one of the few people in the theatre. (That's kind of a pattern in my life... The perks to seeing movies when they've been out a while.)

Now zombies, for the most part, don't scare me. Shuffling corpses that are rotting on their feet and can be taken out by a blow to their softening craniums? No problem. Of course, in a hoarde there could be a problem.

And if it's a hoard of rage virus infected zombies, get me out of dodge.

Scariest moment: The zombies in the church. You don't see them...and then you do.

3. Mama

Children in horror movies are creepy. The children in Mama are
extraordinarily creepy as they've been left on their own for so long, they're essentially feral.

But beyond the creepy children is the fluid creature that is Mama (played by Javier Botet - yes, there's an actual person behind the character). Stretched tall and thin with long fingers and flowing hair, she is beautiful and grotesque and terrifying. And when she slithers from the shadows or up out of the ground....

I jumped during this movie. And that just doesn't happen.

Scariest moment: Annabelle realizing the figure she just saw was not, in fact, one of the children playing.

2. Candyman

Based on "The Forbidden," a short story by Clive Barker, this movie follows Helen (Virginia Madsen), a grad student completing a thesis on urban myths, who encounters the legend of the "Candyman." The story and movie is a twist on the Bloody Mary tale.

I don't remember how old I was the first time I saw this, but for a while I was very, very careful about how often I said the title and I had trouble looking in mirrors for a few days afterward. Even now, after watching it I sometimes expect my reflection to do something independent of my actions...and I'm still reserved about saying the name of the movie. (You'll note I only typed it twice.)

Scariest moment: The first time Candyman speaks. Tony Todd has this sonorous voice that rattles your very bones.

1. The Ring

The Ring (a remake of the Japanese film Ringu) was one of those movies I didn't see until it was out of the theatre. Everyone had been raving about it so my natural inclination was to presume that I'd probably hate it. (I've been burned often enough.)

I didn't hate it. I was very pleasantly surprised. In 2002, it had been a long time since I'd seen a horror movie that made the skin along my spine crawl.

From the grey-blue underexposure of the cinematography to the subtle music to the slow building climax, tension and threat permeates the movie.

And the sight of Samara eventually crawling out of someone's television to wreak vengeance (or just havoc) is one that has stuck in my psyche. The first time I watched The Ring, I had to cover the television in my room in order to go to sleep.

Honestly, every now and then I still get a little nervous around an uncovered television.

Scariest moment: The well. I thought it was all over for Naomi Watts' character.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Grammatical Goofs

It's been said that most people write how they speak.

This works for some things (like character dialogue). ...To a degree. (There are still dialogue choices you don't want to make simply because "that's how people talk." But that's neither here nor there.)

When we talk, we add non-verbal fillers: umms and hmms and breath filled spaces that serve to provide emphasis and separate one phrase from another.

When we write, we have to use syntax and punctuation in order to achieve the same kind of effect.

If you don't have them, you end up with some pretty kooky mistakes. My favorite ones are those that come about due to dangling/misplaced modifiers and improperly used commas.

I saw an accident walking down the street. 

I've heard of people being described as "walking accidents," but I don't think that's the meaning here.

....aside from the small group of officers and their robot guard that had decided to make camp at the abandoned bed and breakfast that she easily dispatched.

Congratulations. That B&B will never bother anyone again.

Let's eat Grandma.

Hannibal? Is that you? Obviously, unless you're intended to actually cook and eat your matron, this would be: Let's eat, Grandma.

She finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog.

You might recall this one from a (fake) magazine cover but, sadly, I've seen people make similar mistakes.

Do you have some favorite grammatical goofs? Share in the comments.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Where You Least Expect Them: Story Ideas

The other day, during my roundabout trip to get more stamps (I'm one of those people who still prefers to conduct certain business my mail), I drove past a man on a street corner.

Bearded, with a bandana around his head, a stuffed-full backpack and a dog at his feet, he looked like your every-day drifter.

I had just enough time, as I went through the light, to get a glance at the cardboard sign he held.

time traveler needs $ for a new flux capacitor

I haven't seen that particular sign before, but I've seen others like it.

And that day I said to myself: imagine if it was true.

I find I get a lot of ideas at random moments, in random places, inspired by increasingly random things: the way someone walks, a sentence on a billboard, a holiday window display.

Many of them may never see the light of day. But they do a fine job of shoring up my morgue file and every now and then I have one that sticks with me until it develops into something resembling a story.

What's the most interesting thing (event, person, object) that's sparked an idea where you least expect it? 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Music Mondays: Songs for the Zombie Apocalypse

Zombies are in.


I'm not telling you anything you don't know.

I'm a zombie fan from way back and while I'm a little burnt out on the recent zombie explosion, I still find myself, every October, rewatching some classics (Night of the Living Dead) and some not-so classics but still fun (Resident Evil).

In the spirit of zombies and Halloween, I'm compiling my personal soundtrack for the zombie apocalypse.

What songs would you include on yours?

End Of The World - Cold
O Death - Jen Titus
Run Through The Jungle - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Wintersleep - Dead Letter and the Infinite Yes
Pretty Piece Of Flesh - One Inch Punch
What A Wonderful World - Joey Ramone
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life - Emilie Autumn
Bang Bang - Cher
Blue Sun - Darling Violetta
Closer - Kings of Leon

Thursday, October 10, 2013

On Creativity

I work much better when I'm surrounded with creativity.

My apartment is awash in other people's stories. There are rows and rows of books and movies and music. I hang other people's dreams and nightmares on my walls. I place their passions and hopes in fine display on my shelves.

When I'm crossed up, mentally battered, blocked or just not able to get in tune with my creative side, I turn to these items. Stare at a painting, listen to an album, re-read a favorite book that's going soft and worn from all my years of seeking inspiration in its pages.

In my experience, creativity feeds off creativity.

A painting inspires a short story. A short story inspires a film. Someone's photography inspires a poem that inspires a song that sparks a novel.

When we create something—on the smallest scale or the grandest—and put it out there for everyone to see, we cast an idea into the waters of human thought.

We create a ripple effect.

And who knows how long it will last or how long it will span?

Who knows what it will inspire?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

100 Words: Making Your Mark

She drinks a glass of wine for each person who’s forgotten her name, eats a soggy crab puff for everyone who stumbles over it.

When Janine from Accounting—with whom she’s had pleasant discussions in the past—looks right through her, something deep inside her chest warms, expands, bursts.

She drains the last of her wine, wades into the crowd.


Jackson Robins is the firm’s most eligible bachelor, subject of water cooler fantasy. Gripping his tie, she pulls his lips flush to her own. Silence falls like a bomb.

Come Monday, her name will be imprinted on every tongue. 

Written for VelvetVerbosity's 100 Word Challenge: Anonymous.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Music Mondays: Drunken Whaler Edition

Perhaps because it's October and Halloween is weeks away or perhaps because I've been revisiting the world of Dishonored these last few weeks, I've had this particular song on a loop in my head.

It's a (more sinister and macabre) version of the "Drunken Sailor" sea shanty. And it's just my taste.

What do we do with a drunken whaler? 
Early in the morning
Slice his throat with a rusty cleaver.... 

Friday, September 13, 2013

If You Write, You're A Writer

Over the years, I've noticed there tends to be a lot of bloviating on who has the right to call themselves a writer.

Some people think you have to be published.

(I'm not sure how that works. Does one publication count? Two? Or does it have to be constant? What about consistent? Can you publish something and then five years later publish something else and still fit the title?)

Others think you have to make a living with the written word. Still others seem to think that if you don't write this type of fiction or that type of non-fiction, you're not really a writer.

It's enough to give you a complex.

I subscribe to the school of thought that says: if you write (because you can't not write), then you're a writer.

You may be a novelist, an essayist, a short story writer, a blogger. Those are all writers. You may be a technical writer or an instructional writer or a proposal writer. That's still writing.

You may write fanfiction; you're still a writer. (And, hey, people legitimately publish and make money off movie and TV show tie-ins, so....)

You may be unpublished...that just makes you an unpublished writer. You may only publish a handful of stories or one novel in your lifetime but so did many well-known authors, would you say they weren't writers?

You may not be able to quit your day job to write but you're still a writer.

Hell, you may not want to quit your day job to write—you may enjoy the job and then the peace of escaping into a different world at the end of the day—and that can throw you in the category of hobbyist instead of careerist, but you're still a writer.

So the next time you hesitate about calling yourself a writer, the next time you come across someone who looks askance at you for calling yourself a writer, just remember: writers abound. From poets to playwrights, textbook to technical writers; unpublished, widely published, little published.

It's not the type of writing or the amount of publication that makes you a writer. The fact that you write—and continue to write—makes you a writer.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Music Mondays: Into Autumn

It's September and I don't know where the year has gone.

I was one month short again this summer (brought down by a cold that became bronchitis) and spent the rest of it traveling. Relaxing, rewarding to get away from the day-to-day monotony of job hunting, housework, and the all too brief consulting job. But it did eat into the time I'd originally reserved for personal projects.

Oh, who am I kidding? I was down and out from mid May to mid June, yes, but I admit to sabotaging myself for the rest of the time. I could've shoved my nose to the grind stone.

But, you know what? I'm trying to enjoy myself more. To let go of the chore that writing has become. To work on silly little projects that will never see daylight. To write homages that will only be shared with specific groups of people. And then to scribble on the stories that I might like to send off into the world one day. Maybe.

This means, too, taking a more leisurely approach to the blog. So, you'll see me popping up throughout the month, most likely, but I'm not worried about keeping to the schedule I'd tried to set.

Now, I digress. It's Monday. You're here for the music. (Or you just stumbled over here not knowing what to expect.) So, here are some tunes that, for me, welcome fall.

Autumn (Adagio Molto) - Vivaldi, Four Seasons

Wild Child - Enya

Raglan Road - Sinead O'Connor

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Reads and Recommendations: Editor Proof Your Writing

A while back, I wrote "Three Tips for Self Editing," detailing some of the steps I use to get to a semi-polished second draft. (The draft that eventually goes out to peers for critique.)

Of course, there's a lot more to editing than what's contained in my little post.

Numerous guides have been written about the editing process and if you're someone like me—a former English major, recovering from various writing classes, who's been engaged in a writing intensive day job—you probably have these books scattered all over your home or office.

The most recent one I've read is Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave by Don McNair. (Full disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from the publicist.) This book is specifically geared toward aspiring writers, including those who are looking to self publish.

Editor-Proof Your Writing's conversational format makes for a quick read (though the tone, at times, was a little too perky for my taste). The editing strategies are straightforward and easy to understand—you don't have to worry about intimidating grammatical terms here, folks—and the organization of the book makes it easy to find advice on a particular subject.

McNair divides his book into three parts: Part One: Putting Words In, Part Two: Taking Words Out, and Part Three: Sharing Your Words.

Part one serves as a general workshop. The short 10 chapters cover material such as
  • properly structuring your story
  • keeping your reader interested
  • choosing the best point of view
  • making sure your scenes pull their weight. 
At the end of each chapter there's an assignment to apply what you've learned to your current work-in-progress.

Part two contains McNair's 21 step process for making your writing cleaner and more effective by removing unnecessary words and phrases. The section is replete with editing exercises so you can practice what you've learned.

In part three, Sharing Your Work, there's advice for every level of sharing beginning with how to find a critique partner/group, engaging the services of a professional editor and finally—the grail—submitting your work for publication.

Whether you're just starting out in the writing world or you've been pounding the keyboard for years, I'd recommend this book as an addition to your non-fiction library.

New writers will be awakened to common pitfalls. And everyone else can use the refresher.

Trust me. When I read through the sections on passive voice and character filters (where you write things like "she heard birds sing" instead of "the birds sang") I was reminded of just how easy it is to slip into a passive voice or to unintentionally put distance between your character and your reader. And a little later, I was able to put these refreshed eyes to work doing some proofreading for a friend.

You can find the book on Amazon (both Kindle and paperback formats) and for the price, it really can't be beat. So check it out and do let me know if you find it helpful.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I Never Could Get the Hang of Sundays

I have some things that dearly need to be caught up on (in addition to some mental and physical re-organizing that needs to be done), and since, lately, my blogging seems to consist of compiling playlists for my week, I figured I'd go full hiatus.

See you around the end of August.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Music Mondays: Survival Edition

I'm out of town again this Monday, participating in my first ever canning session with my mother, aunt, and grandmother.

I consider it a good skill to have. In the event that we're ever in a post-apocalyptic (zombie or otherwise) scenario, I'll be somewhat prepared. Though I'll have to make changes for the probable lack of electricity....

So....maybe it's time for some survival/against the odds music. Songs that work for apocalyptic situations or general life upheavals and everything in between.

1. Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits
2. I'm Not Down - The Clash
3. Time for Tea - Emilie Autumn
4. Bleed Together - Sound Garden
5. Night of the Hunter - 30 Seconds to Mars

Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits

Time for Tea - Emilie Autumn

Night of the Hunter - 30 Seconds to Mars

Monday, July 22, 2013

Music Mondays: Sea Vacation Edition

As of this posting, I'm on vacation. Hopefully enjoying the crash of the waves. Which means, I probably won't be blogging this week. (Oh, what a change of pace that is, I know. I feel like I should put an emoticon there. I need a sarcasm font.)

Anway...some music for my vacation week. Tunes about the sea and escape.

The Ocean - Dar Williams

Rangers - A Fine Frenzy

Pirate's Bride - Sting

Stevie Nicks - Crystal

Monday, July 15, 2013

Music Mondays: Get It Together Edition

Next week, I'm taking my first real vacation in years. And I use "real" to differentiate those trips that you spend visiting friends and relatives. A base qualification of a vacation is that you're not beholden to anyone but yourself (and, maybe, whoever you're taking with you).

So, I guess this is my pre-travel play list. Good for organizing and packing and making sure everything that needs to get done before I leave, does get done.

Nomah's Land - Metisse, Dead Like Me OST

Out of City - Blood & Chocolate OST

Echo - Foxes

Friday, July 12, 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013

Music Mondays: Rain Soaked Edition

It's been a rather miserable week.

I do love grey, wet weather, but after more than three solid days of nothing but rain, I'm on the verge of tearing my hair out. I can't sit on the balcony and soak up the sun. I can't go for a much needed walk. Yesterday, I did detect a smidge of sunlight in the late afternoon, after I was too exhausted to appreciate it. I'm hoping for some sunlight today. I need to get out of the apartment before I do something drastic. Like cleaning out my fridge or alphabetically organizing my pantry shelves.

Here's some rain music to inspire you on this Monday.

What's your favorite playlist for rainy weather?

A Day Without Rain - Enya

After the Rain - Evanescence

Silver Inches - Enya

Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall - The Inkspots

It Can't Rain All the Time - Jane Siberry

Monday, July 1, 2013

Music Mondays: Late Edition

I am late today and I think Blogger is giving me what-for because of it.

I'm in the midst of completing a paying project, reading a book for review, finishing up some fandom artwork and writing, and trying to get back into the short story I was working on before I was waylaid by illness. It's all got my brain a little topsy turvy.

Here's what I'm listening to this week. Like my brain, it's a little all over the place.

Volcano Girls - Veruca Salt

My Heartstrings Come Undone - Demon Hunter

Glass Skin - Dir en grey

Monday, June 24, 2013

Music Mondays: Devil's Deal Edition

I've been revisiting some Christian mythos, contemplating Faustian deals and I started on Paradise Lost this weekend. I needed some music to go along with the mindset. What better than some haunting tunes from artists who allegedly made deals with the Devil?

Violin Sonata No 6 - Niccol├│ Paganini

Devil's Trill Sonata - Giuseppe Tartini

Hellhound On My Trail - Robert Johnson

Cool Drink of Water - Tommy Johnson

Monday, June 17, 2013

Music Mondays: With It Edition

I don't want to jinx myself, but I think I'm on the mend. And I'm working. And I'm writing. I have some new posts coming up on how to deal with criticism.

I'm thinking about re-opening the Wednesday Writing Romp - but I'd really love some more participants this time. I know you guys are out there, I see the stats. Don't be shy!

And I should have a review of a book (that'll be helpful for any of you in the editing stages of a story or novel) in the next couple of weeks.

But until then, here's what I'm listening to. This week, at least.

On the Mend - Foo Fighters

Seven - David Bowie

Stay Awake - Dishwalla

Conversation Piece - David Bowie

Keep Myself Awake - Black Lab

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Music Mondays: Just Shoot Me Edition

I've lost my cheerful disposition. There's a possibility I coughed it out, along with one of my lungs. Or maybe I'm lying and I never had one to begin with. But if I did, it would certainly be gone now that I've had the privilege of being sickly for nearly three weeks.

It hasn't been constant. No, no, no. I thought I'd gotten over the worst of it (and was just battling the ubiquitous post-cold cough) just in time for some lake and sunshine. But then...then my immune system decided to throw me a curve ball; about a week after I thought things had cleared up, I was set upon by a vile little bronchial monstrosity that had me croaking awake at 6:00 a.m. last Tuesday. Maybe my immune system's trying to tell me something. (I'm guessing "sleep more" is part of that message.)

Needless to say, I'm so ready to be hale and hearty again (and I do seem to be improving, but I don't want to jinx myself); I want the full brunt of my mental faculties back. There are too many things I have planned and this month long mental hiatus is killing me. I hope to be back in blogger and writer form soon, but until then, I'm going to continue taking it easy.

In honor of my plague, I've been poking along with songs about sickness (in its various shapes and forms).

Infected - Repo: The Genetic Opera OST

I'm So Sick - Flyleaf

Comfortably Numb - Collide

I Wanna Be Well - The Ramones

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pieces of Myself

So, I'm starting to suspect (after I turned rooms upside down and even checked under the bed for it) that I left a notebook in a hotel in Alabama.

Which got me wondering how many "pieces of myself" I've left in various parts of the country (or world)....

I'm fairly sure a few sheaves of paper containing a really bad novel chapter (I was only 12) got left behind in a closet in Spangdahlem, Germany. There's been a napkin or two with scrawled notes left to absorb coffee and soda rings in various restaurants throughout the South. And I'm fairly sure the Colorado River devoured a story summary that blew out of my hand as I stood on a hotel balcony in Laughlin, Nevada.

And that's just what I recall.

I'm normally, well, we'll say "on the ball"—for polite terminology—when it comes to making sure I've got all of my writing gathered and packed. But every now and then something slips by.

Maybe that's part of the writing life.

Anyway, should the notebook not turn up in some place that I've already searched —under the seat of my car, in the fridge (no, I don't know what it'd be doing in there)—I hope whoever finds it enjoys the scribbles. And the notebook.

Have you left "pieces of yourself" around? Get any good stories out of it?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Music Mondays: Devilish Edition

Blame it on my watching (and beginning a rewatch of season 3-5 of) Supernatural, but I'm really feeling "devil" (or just hell) themed music lately. Here's what I've been listening to.

Everything Goes to Hell - Tom Waits

Sympathy for the Devil - Guns N Roses

Dance With the Devil - Breaking Benjamin

Devils In Boston - Samantha Crain

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