One Hundred–Ah, screw it. My vacation adventures begin tomorrow!

Today’s been a damn good day for me. That statement overlooks how I spent work in a haze, half-asleep, for reasons unknown. Naturally such comments require explanation, and I’m happy to provide it. If only I could type without it coming out like I’m rolling my face along the keyboard.

I promised some playlists, and I’ll be following through on that for tonight’s post. Why? Because I haven’t packed a single article of anything yet, which is probably not ideal since I leave tomorrow. I also only made one playlist/CD so far, so I’m a pretty tremendous failure in that regard, too. However, I did send off my signed contract with Cary Press and I am tremendously excited to really dig into work on my first published novel. Expect lots of fun from here on out, folks. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Nine

Today has me feeling a bit tired, and I know it’s not entirely from work. I took a nap, which turned into one of those naps so mighty it blocks out any alarm clock sounds. And so I awoke, groggy and slightly hungry, to what should be an evening of writing.

There’s a general malaise about me at the moment. With enough effort, I could probably banish it, but it’s one of those nasty little bastards that just sort of leaves me shrugging my shoulders and feeling generally apathetic. Chief among my complaints is being unable to find a comfortable spot to write in, which sounds a lot like a first-world problem. I briefly considered buying a desk, if only because I’m ready to throw my Surface 2 out the window and call it a night.

All of this complaining has a point. I promise. Two points, really, because it does serve as some small level of venting (which would be going much more easily if my godddamned mouse would stop leaping to places elsewhere on the screen). It also helps me get to the topic, which wasn’t the planned topic, for today’s post. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Three

Let me start this by saying how much I love my days off of my day job (like almost every other person alive, save for those detestable ones who do something they love). While I’m not particularly fond of my internal clock having deemed 8a.m. the point at which I’ve slept in, I’m glad to say it’s not even 10a.m. and I’ve already been semi-productive.

No need to sugar-coat it: I’m a slow-starter, and I’m okay with that. However, being awake this early and meandering through my morning, complete with moments of being hooked up to my iPod, also provided ample inspiration, between half-sleepy yawns, for today’s Day of Blogging. Continue reading

Recent short story shenanigans, and other news

Or “What I’ve been up to while I’m not working and sleeping, other than swearing and spending money.”

I really wanted to make this post from my Surface 2, which is a glorious piece of technology that I’ve become quite attached to already. Spoilers: I’ve only taken five pictures with it, and they’re all of my girlfriend and our cats. I live on the wilder side of life. However, the browser of choice on the Surface is (surprise) Internet Explorer. My love of updating my WordPress page clashed with my overwhelming dislike of IE (I accidentally opened it on my laptop recently and it had something about how I should use the best browser for Windows 8; I’m using Chrome, by the way). It did, however, come with a free copy of Office on it, and that’s a damn powerful selling point for me. Years and years of using Microsoft Word have transformed it into my word processor of choice, and I honestly don’t think I could go with anything else (yes, I realize there is plenty of other software out there that’s practically identical to Word in form and function; don’t ruin this for me). I’ve actually been writing on my Surface (using Word), saving it to my cloud storage, and then retrieving it on my laptop for when I send it off for proofreading and the likes. I didn’t mean to turn this into a shameless plug for the Microsoft Surface tablet, but I’m kind of okay that it happened that way. PS: if any kindly folks at Microsoft happen upon this and think, “You know what we like? Publicity and nice things about our products,” and you’re feeling generous, I’m not saying I’d accept a free Surface 3 Pro, but I’m also saying if one showed up in the mail that I wouldn’t reject it by any means.

Moving along.

My brain’s been fixated on normal situations with supernatural/abnormal things dropped into them. Think imaginary friends who can be heard by people other than the individual who imagined them into existence. That sort of thing. It started innocent enough with one short story idea on a rainy, dreary day, and branched off into two ideas. Those two ideas became three ideas, and then a forth one followed while I was at work today. Since I have tomorrow off, the plan is to write the rest of each of those drafts and send them off for proofreading. I’m not sharing those here, though. I don’t mean that in the I-won’t-share-my-toys-with-you-guys way so much as the I-want-to-try-getting-things-published way. Fingers, toes, and other appendages crossed there (if you’re a Lovecraftian horror, take a moment and cross some of your tendrils, tentacles, and other slimy, soul-maiming limbs for me, please; I’m a big supporter of your works, and would appreciate some reciprocity).

The other news: I applied to Screen Robot to be a contributing writer. They liked what they saw of my work and added me on. Now I’m just waiting to hear back before I start writing for them on an irregular basis. I kid, of course. We all know I’m super responsible and great at keeping a schedule. Stop laughing at that. It’s not funny, damn it.

The other other news that happened just today was a brainstorm of sorts while I was driving to an appointment. It’s also something I’ll probably share here, unless it turns out to be awful. I decided it would be fun to write a series of short stories (not necessarily interrelated or anything) around a CD. I’ve been listening to Lindsey Stirling’s new CD, Shatter Me, like it’s my second job. Brilliant, wonderful stuff. Apart from being great travel music, it’s also really easy to get into it and picture worlds forming out of the music notes. We’ll see how this pans out.

Mostly, though, I’ve hit a wall with all of my other projects, I’m still waiting to hear if “Death at Teatime” has been accepted or not (I’m willing to go out on a limb and guess no, but that’s my inner Negative Nancy being a jagoff again).

What sort of inspiration has sneaked up on, or violently struck, any of you lately?

Progress report on Joshua’s Nightmares

Or “I’m pretty damn excited because I’ve been writing all weekend, and this is the most I’ve enjoyed working on a project in a long, long time.”

Tonight, mere moments ago, Joshua’s Nightmares broke the 30,000 words mark. It’s on it’s forty-sixth page, and still has a ways to go before it’s completed. Most importantly, I’m loving every second of it.

I’d also like to extend my thanks to all of my followers. WordPress tells me I hit one hundred followers, and that’s also pretty amazing news. Thank you to everyone who has stuck around and kept reading. You’re all fantastic.

This post feels a bit naked without my standard, rambling prose, and so I’ll end it with this beautiful piece of music from the game Puppeteer (a game truly worth purchasing for its compelling narrative, beautiful art style, and amazing music).

A little soul music to get you through the (extremely) cold weather

It’s the dead of winter.  It’s really freaking cold out.  The North Pole is apparently outsourcing all of its bitter, frigid misery-inducing air to the United States.  I can honestly say even thinking about it just made me feel down in the dumps, and I know thinking about it isn’t doing much for anyone else.

The perfect way to warm your body is, of course, a cup of hot chocolate (or tea) while settled down by a roaring fireplace, but what about warming the soul?  Hot chocolate’s good, but it can only go so far (unless you found a hot chocolate for your soul, in which case I’d like some details e-mailed to me ASAP).  What you need is some high-quality music to warm you through these arctic blasts.  What you need to fend off those herds of homicidal polar bears, who I’m told want to turn you all into people-suits for no real reason, is a copy of Meu Coração Brasileiro.  Naturally, you don’t have to take my word for it.  Let the album notes speak for themselves (which I copied verbatim from CDBaby).

These orignal compositions by veteran jazz educator, composer, and pianist Jeff Kunkel were recorded in Rio de Janeiro in 2011 and 2012. The music demonstrates the composer’s affinity and admiration for the unique musical culture of Brasil, and reflects his love of Bossa Nova, Samba, and MPB. Many were written while Jeff was traveling in Brasil, and are strongly influenced by the places, people, and music encountered there. Featured on the recording along with Jeff are some of the finest musicians on the Rio scene, including the legendary Mauro Senise (flute, saxophone), Vika Barcellos (vocals), Alex Rocha (bass), co-producer Haroldo Mauro Jr. (drums), José Arimatéa (trumpet), Mariana Bernardes (vocals), and Fernando Corona (background vocals). Two of the songs feature the Portuguese lyrics of Ms. Barcellos and Mr. Corona, and two others feature the English lyrics of Jeff’s American colleague Holli Ross.

Jeff Kunkel is an entirely remarkable person, and an extremely talented musician.  Not only is his CD, Meu Coração Brasileiro, loaded with fantastic, reasonably-priced music, but it can also lend to the illusion you have some culture.  No one believes you’ve read that dusty copy of War and Peace sitting on your desk.

Meu Coração Brasileiro is available through CDBaby, Amazon, and iTunes, and by buying a copy you are supporting independent artists doing what they love.  When you support independent artists in doing what they love, they can keep producing art which can make you happier, reduce your stress, and generally do good things for your day (reduced stress is probably connected to a lower likelihood of murdering someone).  Warm your soul through this awful weather with some good music.  You won’t regret it.