Showing posts with label The Writing Process. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Writing Process. Show all posts

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Floating into the Night Reissued!

 

I'm sure I've posted this here at some point in the past, but it felt like the right thing to do this morning. From The Ravenonettes PERFECT 2011 album Raven in the Grave, this has long been one of my favorite songs by the band. That guitar just breaks my heart in the best way possible!!!




Watch:

Sacred Bones just announced a new edition of Julee Cruise's 1989 album Floating Into the Night, her collaboration album with Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch. If you know the record, you know it's HUGE for Twin Peaks fans, as several of the tracks here went on to populate the soundtrack to the original two seasons of Twin Peaks. To promote the re-release, Sacred Bones produced this charming little video:

 

You can order a copy HERE; I was able to snag the Pink and Black Galaxy Vinyl, although I am uncertain if I qualified for the poster. Either way, I'm happy as hell to finally have this on wax without having to pay for an original pressing on eBay.
 


NCBD Addendum:

On a lark, I picked up the first issue of Bliss on Tap Publishing's new series Killing Hope. I was not disappointed.


Written by Josh Barbee and Maloney, with art by Alex Cormack, who I was familiar with from 2020's Aquatic Horror mini-series Sea of Sorrow, Killing Hope starts out as a thriller then veers into what I'm guessing is going to be full-on Horror territory. It's a woman on the run from seemingly unstoppable forces, and I can't wait to read more!

Bliss on Tap is new to me, but a quick gander at their website shows they've got quite a few titles under their belt, with seemingly something for everybody.
 


Playlist:

Blut Aus Nord - 777: Cosmosophy
Principles of Geometry - Lazare
Roxy Music - Eponymous
Colors of the Dark Podcast - Episode 61: The Boogeyman
Chamber of Screams, Clement Panchout & Mxxn - Murder House (Original Puppet Combo Soundtrack)
The Sword - Warp Riders
Faetooth - Remnants of the Vessel
M83 - Saturdays = Youth




Card:


• Ace of Disks 
• Two of Swords: Peace
• Prince of Swords - The airy aspect of Air, or conflict with intellect

Resolving issues with spending money leads to further resolution of internal conflict. I think this is a tit-for-tat response to my current state of continual distraction. The internet is both a powerful tool and a siren that calls me away from my work on a regular basis. Fighting this over the last couple days has led to a huge breakthrough in my work. I was stuck on a final act, but I believe I now have it well underway and it's better than I first imagined!
 



Monday, July 3, 2023

New Noise

 

Besides just being an awesome track, if you're watching FX's The Bear, you're probably picking up what I'm putting down.

From 1998's The Shape of Punk to Come, a veritable classic of that era.
 


Watch:

Easily my favorite show at the moment, FX's The Bear returned recently and K and I just caught up by rewatching season one. 


This is the most "Chicago" anything I've ever seen. I know these people - Richie Jerimovich is one of my best friends, Cicero (Oliver fucking Platt!) is every other middle-aged man I met through friends and family in the 80s - I mean, it's freaking uncanny. It's also one of the most honest narratives about loss, drive and passion I've ever seen. 
           


Read:

I'm about 100 pages into my re-read of Stephen Graham Jones's My Heart is a Chainsaw. If you're a Horror fan and you haven't read this, you're missing out on your new favorite novel:


Chainsaw's protagonist, Jade Daniels, is one of the most relatable and magnetic final girls of all time. Also, what a wonderful experience, reading a book that puts you so deep inside the mind of a High School kid who is obsessed with Horror, specifically Slashers, so much so that she interprets the arrival of a new girl at her high school in Proofrock, ID as the arrival of a Final Girl and the beginning of her town's own Slasher Cycle. There are reasons historic to the town that prompt this theory, but as SGJ is so damn good at, we're so awash in Jade's inner thoughts that we're never quite sure if she's just a bored and obsessed teenager or if there's actually something to what she's saying to anyone who will listen. 

Can't wait to finish this and go directly into the sequel, this year's Don't Fear the Reaper!
 


Playlist:

Ruby the Hatchet - Fear Is a Cruel Master
Various - Twin Peaks (Music from the Limited Event Series)
Ruby the Hatchet - Planetary Space Child
Screaming Females - Desire Pathway
God is LSD - Spirit of Suicide
Jim Williams - Possessor OST
Radiohead - OK Computer
The Body - No One Deserves Happiness
A001 - Necro (single)
Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
Flying Lotus - Yasuke
Ariel - Molten Young Lovers
Witchfinder - Hazy Rites
Perturbator - Dangerous Days
Forhist - Eponymous
The Body - I Shall Die Here/Earth Triumphant
Secret Chiefs 3 & Traditionalists - Le mani destre recise degli ultimi uomini
Fear Factory - Demanufacture
Rein - Reincarnated
Grimes - Art Angels
Gram Rabbit - Music to Start a Cult To
Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - PetroDragonic Apocalypse
Sylvaine - Nova



Card:


• Ace of Disks - Breakthrough in Earthly concerns
• Seven of Disks - Failure - A difficult period in modern life
• Princess of Disks - Fortification; Frugal

All Disks? Well, this really splits the difference between warning and encouragement, but I get the overall gist, just hope it's not too late - STOP SPENDING MONEY!!!



Duration:

I've come up with a better way to post my 'time card' here. Check this out:


Didn't take me much time either, which is good, because when I instituted this a few weeks back, it quickly became apparent I was spending time on reporting that I could have been spending on actually writing. I've known people who do things like this instead of write - it can have a pretty negative impact on the process overall.

As for the time, it's still not where I want it. I took yesterday off completely so I could edit the new episode of The Horror Vision - up in the widget to the right at the top of the page - and hang with K. Another important thing to remember in all this, is to maintain a life/work balance. Considering I worked 40 hours last week at the day job and recorded and edited a podcast, 15 hours isn't bad.

But I need more. 




Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Rina Mushonga - Narcisc0


I'd never heard Rina Mushonga's music before two nights ago when I watched Carter Smith's new film Swallowed. More on that in a minute, first I want to open today with the track used in that film. Taken from the 2019 album In a Galaxy, this entire record is fantastic. My elevator pitch would be Tracy Chapman meets Tune-Yards, but that's just meant to whet the appetite; comparisons really do Rina's music no justice, as it is extremely unique and wonderful.



NCBD:

Another light NCBD this week, which is fine since Night Fever dropped last week and that was a $25 cost I hadn't figured into my initial budget. Light maybe, be it's quality that counts, right? Yeah, and it's a good week:


Saga #65. Lying Cat on his back begging for belly rubs! Looks great, until you remember this is Saga and that means there's probably more horrible stuff for the people I love who live this book. 


The first issue of the newest series in Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Bone Orchard Mythos, I'm pretty psyched for this one. I loved Ten Thousand Black Feathers but felt it ended just as it began to build into something revelatory. I guess that was intentional, as Lemire has said Tenement is the book where all the disparate pieces begin to connect. There are only three issues solicited so far that I see, but whether it's three or thirty, I'm on board. 




Read:

I'd had Carter Smith's new film Swallowed on my viewing list since hearing him interviewed on the Colours of the Dark podcast a few months back. MAN did this blow my expectations away, which, incidentally, were fairly high. 

 
Not for everyone, but if you're willing to take the ride promised by the trailer, this is a super solid flick, with great performances from everyone involved. Like, really great performances. Also, great to see Mark Patton kicking ass and taking names in a flick. Very cool. 




Playlist:

Godflesh - Purge
Fen - Dustwalker
Sinoa Caves - Beyond the Black Rainbow OST
Carpenter Brut - Blood Machines OST
Rina Mushonga - In a Galaxy
Tune-Yards - WHOKILL
Pastor T.L. Barret and the Youth for Christ Choir - Like a Ship Without a Sail
Isaac Hayes - Truck Turner OST
Ghost - Impera     
   


Theory/Practice:

• Eight of Swords - Interruption
• XV The Devil
• XI Lust

This one's all about distraction. I've found that writing for long stints over successive days equals an eroding lack of attention that actually manifests physically as an almost obsessive/compulsive awareness. This "distraction radar" widens my attention to include anything and everything, which in turn gets me out of my chair and away from my work for things that a moment later, either seem unimportant or I forget completely. This is all compounded by a generally erratic nature when in this state, which is the very definition of counterproductive.

All this just means I'm on the correct path.

I haven't had this in a long time, and it means I'm expanding my writing stamina. At my peak performance, I remember sitting down and writing a script for someone in a little over a day. That happened two times, I think, and in doing it, I remember the process that helped me build the 'muscles' to get there. It wasn't easy, because it was a lot of fighting the exact behavior I mentioned above. Which is actually a lot like Yoga, Meditation, or any aspect of Magick in general.

Years ago, when I went through a period of reading works by Aleister Crowley's works on Magick, I began trying Raja Yoga. I believe Crowley talks about this in The Book of Lies, (or it might be Aha! - been a minute). Crowley introduces the idea of Raja Yoga, then talks about how to start practicing Yoga, one must first learn to sit completely still for long periods of time. The idea is, Stillness is a first strike at the crazed torrent of Horror the modern body feels at being asked to sit still. 

Think about that for a minute.

No matter how old you are, or how educated, or successful, if you have no practice in keeping still, your body will act like a child and find a way to make you move. A tiny itch on your nose, a cramp; in more extreme cases, you'll hear things like a knock on the wall, or the snap of a twig. These aren't necessarily auditory hallucinations - although sometimes they might be. This is what happens to our brains in Stillness: we begin to hone in on our surroundings and seek beyond the filters that usually buffer our consciousness, so we can concentrate on the 'important' stuff. Once we can successfully apply the Will to keep Still for a considerable amount of time, we can then focus on controlling our Body in other ways, ie Raja Yoga. To paraphrase the most important morsel Crowley offers on this, "How can you hope to affect change on the Universe with your Will if you can't use it to keep still for five minutes?"

The joke at the time I implemented this was, I had no experience with any Yoga, so beginning with a considerably more severe form like Raja was doomed to fail. That said, man - I could almost perform and hold the Thunderbolt. That shit ain't easy.

All this Theory/Practice I'm talking about above is what led to me being able to sit at a desk for an entire day and write a script from scratch. One of my favorite writing memories, even if that project went nowhere. This is a great example of why I'm reformatting this section of the page to dip back into these ideas. If I am to look at my Practice as having built the life I have, then it makes sense that some of the systems I've put in place would need a tune-up now and again. Although I have maintained a ritualized practice of writing every day for close to a decade now, the duration of the sessions has dwindled. Time to rebuild this engine. In that, I've also added a Duration section to end the page with. This section (below) will be my personal journal of how long I wrote the day before. No hiding my failures now.
 


Duration


I have long used an app called ATracker PRO to 'punch in and punch out' for writing sessions. I get sloppy about using it sometimes, and when I'm as distracted as I was yesterday, I have to turn it off and on as I flit away and back again. In that, I have to get better. I want truthful accounts of solid writing time. I have never used the export function, so I'll probably tweak this as I go. Looks like dedicated time yesterday was roughly two hours and twenty-four minutes.
2:24 Hours

I use another app called Focus Keeper concurrently with ATracker for sessions within the overall session. This allows me five-minute breaks - which I often skip if things are rolling - after 25 minutes of dedicated writing. 



Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Karate - This Day Next Year


Many years ago now, my good friend Grez turned me onto the band Karate, specifically, their 2000 album Unsolved. Remember that old iPod I mentioned last week? Yeah, this is on there, too. The entire album is fantastic, but final track "This Day Next Year" has to be one of the greatest closing album songs ever recorded.




NCBD:

My pull Thanksgiving pull-list for NCBD:


Still digging the new Alien book, where a squad of synthetics who have been dicked over by the Military and just want to be left alone are now stuck in a hotbed of Alien activity. Time to fight their way out - good news for us.


I'm on the fence with this "Dark Web" event, but I'm curious enough to give it a shot. It's not like I'm not already reading several X-Books and Amazing Spider-Man, so hopefully, I'll get the gist of it in those pages without having to buy anything extra (not bloody likely, mate)


In the previous issue of Creepshow, we were treated to a story by David and Maria Lapham; I can't wait to see what we get this time. 


I was originally under the impression that, like Creepshow, Stuff of Nightmares was an issue-by-issue anthology. Not the case, and I'm glad because the Brothers Cameron are creating quite the crazy little arc. Part Reanimator, part Mystery-Thriller, this one is quickly becoming one of my favorites.


What's the Furthest Place From Here returns, and I could not be happier. I did a full reread of this back in late July, and I'm ready to get back in and learn some more about this truly bizarre world Rosenberg and Boss have created.


After last week's Immortal X-Men, I am chomping at the bit for more! I recently read something about an upcoming event - a smaller one this time - called Sins of Sinister, and being that the big "S" is one of the most fascinating characters in the X-Books at the moment, I'm getting pretty excited.




Watch:

Really? Really Olivia Wilde?

 
I have to say, this film is infuriating because, for most of its runtime, Don't Worry Darling is outstanding. And overall, it is a very well-made movie. That said, the 'reveal' in the third act is insulting. I mean, this is what happens when you have everything to make a fantastic film except a good idea. 




Playlist:

Mastodon - Hushed and Grim
Karate - Unsolved
Wipers - Youth of America
Zola Jesus - Conatus
Zeni Geva & Steve Albini - All Right! You Little Bastards!
Zola Jesus - Stridulum
Deafheaven - Infinite Granite
Deafheaven - Sunbather
Uniform and The Body - Mental Wounds Not Healing
Orville Peck - Bronco




Card:

From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.


Retaining the ability to shift gears when working on something and realizing I'm not quite there yet. Yeah, that's on the nose. The free Kindle Exclusive Book has to wait. I realized this yesterday, as I've submitted one of the stories for publication elsewhere, and two of them are not quite up to the standard I am comfortable with.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Katanas and Mimes, Oh My!!!

I'm not really a huge follower of Red Fang - they're a solid band, they just don't really stand out to me. That said, I LOVE this video.




Read:

Pretty psyched to have been sent a digital copy of Osaka Mime from Behemoth Comics for review on our A Most Horrible Library podcast. This book looks NUTS, and I am all about finding out more everything I can about whatever the hell monster is on this cover:


Super cool. Chris and I should be reviewing this one on our new episode, dropping next Monday morning (Sunday night at Midnight if you do the youtubes).

A very special thanks to Behemoth Comics and creators Andy Leavy, Hugo Araujo, and Robin Jones for sending this our way.



Playlist:

Judas Priest - Firepower
Small Black - Cheap Dreams
Steve Moore - VFW OST
 



Card:


Significant in that I just sent a Beta copy of a short story I've been trying to solve for almost three years to my good friend (and constant beta reader) Missi. The story is 99.9% there but still feels incomplete; not start to finish, but something textural inside its narrative feels weak. I'm hoping Missi's insight will help me realize what, if anything it is (because it is totally plausible, when you've working on something for this long, to get into a headspace where you can't finish it, even when it's finished).

 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Isolation: Day 192 - New Sepultura!

 

I had no idea we were getting a new Sepultura album this year! Of course, that's probably because for the most part, the band's been off my radar since, well, since 1993's MASTERPIECE Chaos A.D. While I never took a side in the schism between Max Cavalera and the rest of the band because I didn't follow it that closely, Sepultura lost me with Roots, which has some amazing tracks on it - even korn-boy couldn't sully that track with Patton it - but overall felt like a sinking ship. NOTE: Many people have told me to give Roots another chance, and I suppose now's as good a time as any, what with this new track completely blowing my mind. The new album, Quadra, is available now from Nuclear Blast Records.



Read:

Dipping back into The Hellbound Heart, and I'm completely smitten with it. My love of Barker is stronger this year than it's been in a while, and revisiting this one on the heel of rewatching the first three movies several times over the few years, I find myself very interested in his adaptation process.


Look at Barker's original cover art; this should have never been changed. I'm currently reading this one on Kindle, but I'll have to keep an eye out for a copy of the original. 



Playlist:

Angel Witch - '82 Revisited
Dance With the Dead - Near Dark
Type O Negative - Bloody Kisses (digipak)
Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine - White People and the Damage Done
Iggy and the Stooges - Raw Power
Isaac Hayes - The Isaac Hayes Movement
Japandroids - Celebration Rock
Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey
Alice in Chains - Dirt
Sepultura - Quadra
Gloom Balloon - All My Feelings for You (single)
John Carpenter - Skeleton/Unclean Spirit (single)
Blueneck - Repetitions
Frank Sinatra - In the Wee Small Hours
Uniform - Shame         


Card:


Different deck, same card as my last draw. I suppose this underlines my explanation from the nineteenth, however, today was a fairly productive day, as I clocked several hours of solid writing time on Shadow Play, Book Two. This is what I always have to remind myself when I start something this big - the Flow will only come if you wait through the off times. Day one might suck; day two might suck; day three might suck, but it won't suck as bad. Then, before you know it, the polarity reverses and the Work gets better and easier, more rewarding. But you have to hammer through the Strife. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Isolation: Day 190

Musick:



I had NO idea Mastodon recorded a song with Gibby Haynes. Kinda made my day. Apparently, only released originally as a download from the Adult Swim website, Atlanta appears on the just-released Medium Rarities album, which is pretty fun all around, with instrumental versions of some songs, live versions, and this. Oh yeah, and this too:

 

Nice to have this on youtube, because having sat through that ATHF movie once, I'm in no hurry to do so again!



Watch:

I finally got around to Craig William Macneill's Lizzie, the Lizzie Borden dramatization starring ChloĆ« Sevigny, Kristen Stewart, and Kim Dickens. Slooooow burn, but ultimately a very well-made, well-acted film that airs on the side of discretion and atmosphere. 


Also under the umbrella of watch, a late-week announcement that Beyondfest would indeed be happening made my year! Instead of the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood - which obviously would not be conducive to social distancing, those crazy fuckers that run the show are having it at Mission Tiki Drive-in Theatre, fifty-four miles from me in Montclair, California. This presents massive logistics issues, and I was not able to get everything I wanted because of that. However, what I did get, is awesome!

 

And...


I can't really complain, because this is a STACKED couple of days. This coming Thursday is the Possessor premiere, and I'll definitely be doing a quick, spoiler-free review of it for The Horror Vision, after the showing, so watch for that next Friday!
 


Playlist:

Electric Wizard - Let Us Prey
Portishead - Third
Death Valley Girls - Under the Spell of Joy (pre-release single)
Death Valley Girls - Hold My Hand (pre-release single)
Cocksure - K.K.E.P.
Doves - The Universal Want
White Lung - Paradise




Card:


A lot of Swords lately. Here, the Five of Wands - or Strife as Crowley dubbed it in the Thoth - appears to point toward my internal struggle over my work on the second Shadow Play book. It's been a difficult two weeks, which surprises and infuriates me, as with the intricate outline I previously created for this book, the writing is not that difficult. Yet, somehow, I struggle with it nearly every time I sit down to work on it. I've tried all my tricks - my timers and focus apps and whatnot - and I've tried just putting my head down and pummeling into it. All of this works in getting writing done, but none of it works in making the process gel in my head. I know this will come, it's just frustrating waiting for it.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Isolation: Day 126 - Brandon Cronenberg's Possessor Gets a Trailer!



I feel as though I've been waiting for this trailer forever. Now that it's here, I really just want the movie. The real shame is, if not for COVID, Brandon Cronenberg's sophomore flick would most likely be premiering at Beyondfest. As it stands, I guess I'll be doing a big VOD event for it when the release is finally announced (please announce soon!)

**

Late last week I caught wind of William Lustig's company Blue Underground having released a 3-Disc, 4K Blu Ray edition of Lucio Fulci's House By the Cemetery. I love this flick - while it took me a while to come around on The Beyond and City of the Living Dead (I love both now), House has always been a film that fascinates me. So as soon as I saw this, I ordered it. Pricey, but worth it.


The restoration is, as with all Blue Underground's restorations - gorgeous. If you go to this edition's page on Blu-Ray.com (HERE), you can read about the transfer and see some screen shot comparisons. The second disc is filled with extras, including a lot of interviews with the actors and crew, and the third disc is a CD edition of Walter Rizzati's brilliant score for the film.

**

Playlist:

Walter Rizzati - House By the Cemetery OST
Primus - Antipop
M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Moderat - II
Perturbator - The Uncanny Valley
Elephant Tree - Habits
Cypress Hill - IV
Flying Lotus - You're Dead!
Nine Inch Nails - The Slip
Agnes Obel - Citizen of Glass
Brainiac - Hissing Prigs in Static Couture
David Lynch and Marek Zebrowski - Polish Night Music

**

Card:


Power struggles, internal or external. I'm taking this as a warning that discipline will be needed to fully reintegrate my writing time back into The Secret Life of Murder, now that my belabored short story Fixation on a Coworker is finally finished.

Coworker proved extremely difficult to write; I worked on the thing off and on for a year and three months. I finally brought it in at ~7700 words, then decided I wanted to try submitting it to a publication I recently discovered called Infernal Ink. Some of my stories skew into what I'd call Erotic Horror, and this story especially plays in that arena. There's an overarching theme - or character actually - that runs through these stories, so even though they are stand alone, they're part of a bigger story slowly forming in my head. Anyway, Infernal Ink's submissions cut off at 5K, so I knuckled down and decided to practice one of my favorite parts of writing - editing. I cut the story down to 6K, then down another thousand to 5K.

It felt good! The story as it was is probably perfect at 6K. Chopping it down more wasn't easy, but I eliminated a supporting character arc that originally dovetailed with the protagonist's, eased the throttle back on some of my more descriptive passages, and landed it clean. It was at that point I realized Infernal Ink's submissions are closed, as their upcoming October issue will be the magazine's final issue as they switch gears to focus on book publishing.

Waste of time? Not. At. All. The editing process really bolstered my confidence in a story that otherwise had me running in prosaic circles, and that's never a bad thing. Plus, I found an awesome publisher/magazine in the process (all the issues are on Kindle for under $3).


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Isolation: Day 107



Full article on Bloody Disgusting, Legion looks like it will be one hell of a ride. I love the visual allusions to Evil Dead, I love the links to Shamanism and Sorcery, and, well, I guess I love everything about this trailer.

**

Playlist:

C-Building Kids - Shitting in the Urinal
Run the Jewels - RTJ4
Bell Witch and Aerial Ruin - Stygian Bough, Vol. 1
Belong - October Language
Psychetect - Extremism
Andy Fosberry - Death Ship 2047

**


Channeling the Will to forge new goals. As usual, on the nose with my creative endeavors. The novel is finished, I'm palate cleansing with a short story, and then it's back to Shadow Play.


Speaking of writing, here's a situation I find myself in need of help with.

I'm running a poll on the Horror Amino at the moment, but I'll post my quandary here as well. Any readers who are able to post a reply with their opinion on this matter, it would be much appreciated. That said, I generally do not comment on other sites due to an aversion to elongating my online fingerprint, so I will absolutely understand if no one does.

Here's the deal:

The current title for the new novel is The Secret Life of Murder. I'm having doubts about that name, primarily based on friends' who read this back when it was finished in 2008 and didn't take to the title.

Some background:

This is not the second book in the Shadow Play trilogy, which is completely outlined. And when I say outlined, we're talking detailed to the point that the word count of the outline may very well rival or best the eventual word count on the actual novel. That said, I am refraining from actually writing Book Two until Book Three's outline is complete. Three was about 50% outlined as of February, however, two things made me push both of these back so that Book Two will now release in 2021 and Book Three 2022. Those two things were A) Realizing I would not be able to finish outlining Book Three and write Book Two this year, and B) the onset of COVID-19, Shelter-in-Place, and borderline mass hysteria seemed too in-line with The Secret Life of Murder, which follows a small group of characters trapped in Seattle, Washington as a "Murder Virus" the press has nicknamed MV-3 works its way through the population. MV-3 turns everyone infected into rampaging murder drones, and the resulting wave of chaos appears unstoppable. The virus is introduced into the population by way of a book written by a shadowy ex-hippy guru names Abremlin Harvest.

Being that this one was already finished but has sat for over a decade, the work I set out to do was fairly straight forward: I knew there would be a lot of grammatical/syntax issues I needed to edit,  because, simply put, I am a much better writer now than I was thirteen years ago. I also knew the timeline of events that make up the plot would need to be sharpened, and I wanted to work the emotions, situations, and socio-political elements occurring in our own world into the story, making it more parallel to what we've experienced so far in 2020. This was not difficult to do, although I did end up changing an entire layer of the final act to better reflect the character arc of the Earth, which figures in as a sort of character when you take into account that, much like I believe with COVID-19, the planet is employing the virus as a medicinal reaction to the overpopulation currently choking the life from it. Taking all this into account, I still feel as though The Secret Life of Murder is the best title, however, after living with this one for so long, I'm unsure if I feel that way because it is a good title, or if it just feels that way to me because it has stood as the uncontested 'placeholder' for it in my head for thirteen years.

The question then is, without having read this novel, is The Secret Life of Murder a title that you would scroll past on amazon or - if you're lucky enough to have one - the shelf of an actual book store. Is its not-so-subtle play on all those non-fiction books from the 00s (The Secret Life of Bees, The Secret Life of Lobsters, etc) cause for an eye roll? Or is it intriguing enough to make you want to at the very least read the synopsis?

Monday, March 2, 2020

Orville Peck - Queen of the Rodeo



I love the way, between this and the AHS 10 Cast announcement video published last week, Peck has swung back around and recaptured my imagination of late. Not that I ever leave the record very far behind - it's a staple and feels like it will be for the rest of my life - but it feels strangely timely again.

**

Saturday night K and I, along with 3/4 of the rest of The Horror Vision crew went to the theatre and supported the big-box roll out for Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala's The Lodge. Fantastic film! I've jokingly been referring to it as the, "Feel good hit of the summer," simply to help me process just how damn dark it is, but overall, I really liked this one. Afterward, we recorded an episode of the podcast, so that'll be up in a couple of days or so.




**

Playlist:

The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath
Odonis Odonis - No Pop
The Smiths - Meat is Murder
Myrkur - M
Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See
Bohren and Der Club of Gore - Patchouli Blue
The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute
Odonis Odonis - Post Plague
Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen
Boy Harsher - Careful
Anthrax - Among the Living

**

Card:


A relaxing weekend, if a chilly one (I know, I know. I can hear my family and friends in the Frigid Midwest. Fuck me, California boy). Stability achieved after a stressful week on-call for Jury Duty. I got a lot of work done on Friday and Saturday, saw a great movie, and now it's time to use that clear head and march right back to work. Turning in a packet of docs to a collaborator today, hopefully we'll see some movement with that (eventually; long submission process), and it's back to my outlines for Shadow Play books Two and Three, which are more finished than not.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Cynic - Textures: RIP Sean Reinert



Man, this was a blow. I don't know Sean Reinert's catalogue like some of my friends do, but from the moment I first heard this track on Cynic's 1993's debut Focus, I was floored. This was one of the first 'death metal' bands whose vocals didn't put me off, and also, whereas I normally didn't 'listen' to the drums on records like this, with Reinhert, at times that was all I could listen to.

**

Holy smokes! Over at Brooklyn Vegan, Andrew Sacher made my day by posting the news that 90s MetalCore group Deadguy appear to be reuniting. This is one show I will not miss live if they come through LaLa Land! Waaaay back in 1995, when Deadguy's first and only album Fixation On a Coworker came out on Victory Records, I happened to be a writer for southside Chicago music mag Subculture, and this album was sent to me for review. I loved it, and have loved it ever since, and now can't wait to see what more Deadly might have in store for us.

Read Sacher's full article HERE, and below is my favorite song off the album:




**

Playlist:

M83 - Knight + Heart OST
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - In Summer EP
Me and That Man - Songs of
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars

**

Card:


Motion, movement. Flow. Getting back into a stable, regular writing routine has worked wonders. Sometimes things stop your momentum cold, that's life. You just have to start back up again. It's all a Wheel.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Me and That Man - Mestwo



There's something to be said for artists who, whether they plan to or not, end up defining a part of our time, whether it's a year, or half-year, or period of weeks and/or months. Me and That Man is having that affect on me now, here at the start of the 20s. Part of it is because I didn't hear about them until the back half of 2019, and part of it is the pace at which they have been releasing singles off their upcoming 2020 album, Same Shit Volume One, due out March 27th on Napalm Records (Pre-order HERE). The steady, every-couple-of-weeks has helped keep them on my mind, in my ears, and a continual OST to these cold and dreary days of the first quarter (LaLa Land's 'cold and dreary' might not be as severe as a lot of other places, but everything is relative). This new track is simple, catchy, and has a certain stoic dirge quality that, once again, shows me Nergal is a huge Nick Cave fan. Not a band thing by any means.

**

The similarities between the procedural CDC elements of Chuck Wendig's novel Wanderers and the current 'outbreak' of the Coronavirus are frightening to say the least. Benji Ray's complex relationship with the job of disease identification/control/treatment already inspired me to pull Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys off the shelf in anticipation of a re-watch, reality and the daily news - which I largely shy away from these days other than BBC - have made me think twice about adding to the 'paranoia fire' that seems to lay at the heart of the modern world at the moment.


**

Playlist:

Blut Aus Nord - Memorial Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars
Drab Majesty - The Demonstration
Godflesh - Love and Hate in Dub
Godflesh - Songs of Love and Hate
Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen
Bohren and Der Club of Gore - Patchouli Blue
Tangerine Dream - Sorcerer OST
Steve Moore - Bliss OST
Night Shop - In the Break
Black Pumas - Eponymous
Iggy Pop - Lust for Life
Revolting Cocks - Big Sexy Land
Mol - Jord

**

Card:


A direct reference to the power and stability my recent writing sessions have given my made-up world of Shadow Play. As if to further underline that interpretation, a second card leapt from the pile as I pulled the first off the top of the deck:


Second time this week for XXI The Universe, and why not? I'm currently dealing with massive philosophical concepts, finding fun and interesting ways to instill a version of my own cosmology in this work that is coming to define my life (at least until it's over and I move on).

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Hilary Woods - Tongues of Wild Boar



I know nothing about Hilary Woods, but this song and its accompanying video are gorgeous in the creepiest possible way. The album drops March 13th on Sacred Bones - and it brings me a little spark of joy knowing that's a Friday to boot. Pre-order HERE.

**

NCBD:

Nothing new this week that's on my radar, but I still have to grab Trees: Three Fates #5. from two weeks ago (not sure how I keep missing this one or why I never put it on my Pull):


Trees: Three Fates has been a nice mostly dose of Warren Ellis' comics writing, and its helped me postpone getting involved in Batman's Grave on a monthly basis. As I editorialized on the most recent episode of Drinking with Comics, I'll read an independent monthly, but I'm done reading Big Two books in a format constantly interrupted by shitty ads. Plus, admittedly, Ellis always reads better in trade.

I know Trees won't be coming back for a while, but I'm really looking forward to the return of Injection, which I believe I read will be starting up again this year. Injection stands as my favorite Ellis book since Doktor Sleepless, and I miss it dearly.

**

I finished David Cronenberg's Consumed. Outstanding. Five stars - six if it was possible. I really can't wait to see this rendered by the author into a visual, episodic format. There's some serious body horror here, and it runs the game from subtle-but-terrifying to remarkably vulgar. Thus, it should make for a fantastic Cronenberg project.

In the wake of Consumed, I've become a book my friend Jesus gifted me for Christmas, Chuck Wendig's Wanderers:


One-hundred and six pages in and I can't put this book down! I know nothing about the story going in - I hadn't even heard of it before Jesus put it in my hand - and that's definitely making for a great read. Also, its always nice to see a tense or horrific story start with a twist on something so basic - what if your loved one started sleepwalking and would not stop for anything?

**

Playlist:

Steve Moore - Bliss OST
Tangerine Dream - Sorcerer OST
Zombi - Shape Shift
Umberto - Helpless Spectator
Tangerine Dream - Exit
Godflesh - Post Self
Godflesh - Hymns

Card:


Yesterday's card was XXI: The Universe, and it compelled me to work for an extended period of time on the "Bigger Ideas" of the final book in the Shadow Play series. I've made a pact with myself to not begin writing the second book - which is painstakingly outlined - until I have the entirety of the third volume outlined as well. This has proved challenging, to say the least. My writing sessions, have been long and consisted of reading research material, outlining, story boarding (of a sort), and all kinds of other fun tasks, but nothing that scratches the itch to write. Still, a solid three hours yesterday and I made what feels like serious progress.


Serious. Professional. Driven. All qualities I could stand to aspire to of late; as much fun as this phase of the Shadow Play project is, it's susceptible to distraction. I downloaded a new focus app, called Tomato Timer, and it's helped me get a handle on this a bit. And on that note, off to work!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Drinking with Comics - Relaunch Special #1



... and we're back! New location. Just two of the guys who started it (for now - although the third original member, who was actually my original partner on this venture, was in town from NY for the show, so that was awesome). Adobe's newest update nearly fucking killed me editing this one; apparently the export to H264 file format now drops audio, which is something you don't find out until after the three hours it takes render a forty-nine minute session with extensive color correction work and numerous other plug-ins. It took me five fucking days, but I found a work around and from here out, it will hopefully be smooth sailing. Because we plan on doing more of these.

A lot more.

**

Song:



My cousin has turned me into a card-carrying Kevin Morby fan, and this is one of the songs on his latest album, Oh My God, that I can't seem to live without these last couple weeks.

**

Reading:

Currently, I'm held spellbound by David Cronenberg's debut novel, Consumed. When I saw Cronenberg speak at Beyondfest in 2018, he talked about originally wanting to be an author. It makes sense that his storytelling skills would translate from film to prose; the book definitely feels cinematic, to say the least. ~106 pages in and Consumed is excellent, and also bordering on the most disturbing thing I've read since Naked Lunch.


The fact that Cronenberg is writing/directing an adaptation of this for Netflix makes me both extremely excited and horribly afraid.


**

Playlist:

David Bowie - Black Star
Lingua Ignota - Caligula
Kevin Morby - Oh My God
The National - High Violet
Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
David Bowie - Outside
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - Watchmen Vol. 3
Godflesh - Pure

Card:


A warning to recognize losing oneself in delusion. I actually think this applies to a facet of introspection I've had of late; until last night, it's been almost a good solid two weeks of little to no writing. A lot of that was editing the episode of DwC. Some of it, however, was a combination of fatigue and laziness. I'd come home from work exhausted, lay down and turn on a flick. Fine when that's a one-off, but when that happens several days in a row, I begin to make a habit of it. I come home from work and, tired or not, want to smoke up and watch something. There's filling the well, and there's abandoning the Art for consumption's sake. Escaping my work for the sake of falling into the fantasy of a movie, when reiterated over and over, begins to dissolve the creative inertia I've spent so much time building. This is a good reminder to put the Art first, and the fantasy second.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Pan's Labyrinthine Dreamscape



Five days ago: in the car, a cover of Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill comes on KROQ and mildly annoys me. I erroneously dismiss it as another 'Of Monsters and Men' type band covering a song I adore.

One day ago: I hear the same Kate Bush cover on the radio that is always on at work.  Normally tuned exclusively to KXLU, lately, the dial has been set to KROQ. I relive the experience in the car from a few days before, walk out and Shazam the track, realizing as I stand there with my phone in my hand that I actually like the cover.

Fifteen minutes ago: I wake up early, set up to stretch and see that I ear-marked the artist in question, Meg Myers', 2014 Make A Shadow EP on Apple Music. I download the tracks, lay out a yoga mat and hit play. While attempting to stretch out incredibly sore hamstring muscles, the first track starts and I melt.

This is amazing. Full salvo - this hits me hard.

Five minutes ago: I start this post, a newly minted Meg Myers fan.

**

It's time again for...


For the first time in years yesterday, I listened to Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too by the New Radicals. This was a huge album for me in the early 2000s, but perhaps because of that fact, it feels as though it belongs to that era. In this on-going obsession with recontextualizing the 00s, I listened to the album in one straight shot at work and experienced it in a deeply emotional way. Which was very, um, cathartic, I guess. Weird to experience a strong emotional response to music in an office with other people around, but it's kind of a different office aesthetic than most people have, so it worked.

I followed the one album Greg Alexander recorded as New Radicals with a song that often surprises people when it pops up on my iPod in a public forum. I know nothing about Michelle Branch and I'm not the biggest Carlos Santana fan, especially the album I'm about to reference here. However, this song, written by Alexander, sounds like it belongs on that one New Radicals album. I love it. When Ms. Branch hits those "tell my whhhyyyy" parts, it does to my soul exactly what Alexander's voice does on album opener Mother We Just Can't Get Enough, and it feels very, very good.



**

Finished the second season of Veronica Mars, and we're now a quarter of the way through the third. I've seen all these before, but my memory sucks, so while I remember how the main season arcs sweep, I don't completely remember how they get to where they're going. That was certainly the case with the climax of Season Two, where I remembered who had blown up the bus, but not why. I also didn't remember just how damn dark that Season Two finale gets, or how dark Season Three's main story is. Is this why the show ultimately disintegrated in the ratings that propelled it through its initial lifespan and subsequent following?

Chomping at the bit to revisit the movie - which I remember nothing about - and to get to the new Season on Hulu.

**

The new episode of The Horror Vision is up. Movie of the episode is James Gunn's wonderful 2006 gross-out Slither, but the conversation goes all over the place, from Jennifer Kent's Babadook follow-up The Nightengale, to AHS 1984's conclusion (no spoilers), to Clive Barker's Nightbreed. Oh, and our Classic Corner is Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.

The Horror Vision on Apple

The Horror Vision on Spotify

The Horror Vision on Google Play


**

Doing the movies-on-silent-in-the-background-while-I-write thing again, and it seems to be working well for inspiration. Recent features:





**

Playlist:

Alice in Chains - Eponymous
Soundgarden - Down On the Upside
St. Germaine - Tourist
New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too
Federale - No Justice
Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III: Saturian Poetry
Dean Hurley - Anthology Resource Vol. II: Philosophy of Beyond
Telephone Tel Aviv - Immolate Yourself

**
Card:


Which I associate with a very good friend who I spoke to immediately after pulling the card - coincidentally, not by design - who experienced a 6.4 Earthquake in Tirana. Stay safe, brother.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Writing Chamber 11.23.19



Because I'm spending the day with my phone in airplane mode so I can finally finish another of these short stories that have been haunting me for months, I'm revisiting a lot of the stuff that's trapped on my old iPod. Which, as it turns out, is extremely inspiring. Telephone Tel Aviv's album Immolate Yourself was an album I came to unexpectedly: sometime in the mid-00s a friend had given me a bunch of albums in MP3 form, so many in fact that it took me quite some time to work my way around to all of them. One day after work at the bookstore, I came home and hit "Shuffle" on the desktop computer before lying down for a nap. I woke up at some point with this album on, but the wake-up was half-hearted, and as I lie there drifting in and out of sleep, this record slowly endeared itself to me. It has, since then, been a portal back to the weird, twilight mindset of that experience.

**

Along with the old iPod selections, I'm playing a couple movies on silent in the background while I write. Today's choices:






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With Tasmyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth winding down (it's SO freakin' good), I purchased and loaded Autumn Christian's Girl Like A Bomb in my 'on-deck' reading circle. I don't know much about the book or the author, but I LOVED Shadowmachine, Christian's entry into Robert S. Wilson's Ashes and Entropy anthology earlier in the year, and am excited to read more of her work.



What a cover. The font alone sells it.

**

Playlist:

Blackstar - David Bowie
A Storm in Heaven - The Verve
David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
Oh Baby - The Art of Sleeping Alone
Deth Crux - Mutant Flesh
Ministry - Psalm 69
Bohren and der Club of Gore - Sunset Mission
Bohren and der Club of Gore - Gore Motel

Monday, September 23, 2019

New Trailer for Shudder's Creepshow!



This Thursday! Can't wait.

**

The Writing Process:

Lots of intense bursts of inspiration for Shadow Play Book Two: The Absence of Light. I have a general outline, sort of, but there's so much ground to cover and a lot of jumping around in the timeline, which currently runs from about 1576 to 2019, with one chapter most likely occurring in early pre-history. This is easily the most ambitious story architecture I've ever attempted, but it feels strong and alive in a way that is increasingly energizing. Which is great, because lately, I've had a lot of ups and downs with all the short stories I've been working on over the last year, and the first book of Ciazarn is largely written, but I can't quit nail the tone, so I'm easing away for the time being on that one. Frustrations are amplified by the fact that most of these issues would probably work themselves out if I could just get back on a consistent writing schedule. Hoping that happens this week.

**

Super excited to announce I'll be doing a bit of a collaboration with my good friend Mr. Brown. I've never really been an X-Files fan; I don't have anything against it, but I also have never really gotten into it beyond a dalliance with the 'mythology' episodes way back in the day, which dried up as it became apparent the story wasn't really mapped out to conclude in any satisfying way. Or maybe I'm wrong - I liked some of what I saw, but could never commit to a regular watch-schedule with it, despite being sexually obsessed by Gillian Anderson in my late teens/early twenties.


But I digress...

Brown asked me recently if I'd be into the idea of him curating a playlist of stand alone X-Files episodes, the idea being I would watch them and write a little something about them as I go. I love this idea, as I trust Brown's taste implicitly, and have always wanted someone to show me just what the hell everyone loved about this show in the 90s. This is the perfect time for such a project as well; 31 Days of Horror begins next week, and I figure on days with little watch time, I could pepper in some X-Files. I have the list and can't wait to start!

**

Recent Playlist:

Carpenter Brut - Leather Teeth
Carpenter Brut - Trilogy
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Wasteland
The Ocean - Heliocentric
Drab Majesty - Careless
Various - A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night OST
Boy Harsher - Careful
Rob Zombie - Hellbilly Deluxe
Monolord - No Comfort
Joseph Loduca - Evil Dead 2 OST
John Carpenter - Prince of Darkness OST

**

Card of the day:


Turning. Changing. Cycles. You can see on the diagram below that Atu X: Fortune manifests as the path between Mercy and Victory. Not sure how to read that in my own current context, but while digging around online for the image below, I came across something I'd never really noticed about Fortune - The Wheel or The Wheel of Fortune in other decks. It moves counter clockwise. Macro-definitions aside, I'm looking at this today as a nod to move forward in reverse-engineering something that has been giving me a bit of trouble.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Larry Fessenden's Depraved



A friend and I are going to check out Larry Fessenden's new film Depraved in Hollywood tonight, and I am excited! I've been waiting for some time for this, a modern re-telling of Mary Shelley's classic Frankenstein tale. The trailer looks fantastic, and the theatre the film is playing at is one of my favorite little nooks and crannies in a city where everything is overblown and overexposed. A fun time will be had by all, of that I am certain.

**

New Fangoria arrived two days ago and I've barely had a chance to scratch the surface.


Great cover.

**

Playlist from 9/18:

Sausage - Riddle Are Abound Tonight
Sleep - Sleep's Holy Mountain
Sepultura - Roots
Malcolm Middleton - Sleight of Heart
Lustmord - The Word as Power
Perturbator - Dangerous Days

**

Card of the day:


I love seeing the same card multiple days in a row, especially when I can interpret the pull as a nod that what I've been doing is the right thing to be doing. Burnt out and not in the best physical shape, I took another day off from writing after work yesterday and had a big ol' nap. It was glorious! This restorative, Powering Up period has worked wonders - I feel considerably better today than I did yesterday, so tomorrow it's going to be rest in the morning, and then back at it.

Actually, I did a little bit of work yesterday: finally dug out an old manuscript I intend to canabalize for an upcoming short story. It was fun revisiting old material, especially looking at it with fresh eyes, seeing what I can use and what will be changed or tossed. This new one's been on my mind for over a year, so I can't wait to tear into it!