Ode to October

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October.

Time to read

the stories of Ray Bradbury,

the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe,

and the novels of Daphne du Maurier.

October.

Time to watch anime like

Soul Eater,

Hellsing,

and Black Butler.

October.

Time to see TV shows like

Dark Shadows,

The Addams Family,

and The Twilight Zone.

October.

Time to revisit films like

Young Frankenstein with Gene Wilder,

The Raven with Vincent Price,

and the work of Alfred Hitchcock.

October.

Time to listen to music by

The Rasmus, HiM,

and Nightwish.

October.

Time for sweaters, scarves, and hot soup,

for shadows, smoke,

and morning mist.

October.

Time to curl up under blankets

with cats and cups of hot chocolate

mixed with Baileys Irish Cream.

October.

Time that is in two places at once,

the month that is both eight and ten,

Julian and Gregorian.

October:

Time to celebrate the things that go bump in the night

and try, oh so convincingly, to pretend

we are not afraid of the dark.

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2015: The Year in Review

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Okay, seriously, who keeps making off with all this time?  Feels like the year just got started and we’re already on the cusp of 2016!  (And from what I’ve heard, this sense of time distortion only gets worse… ugh.)

I am definitely in a better place at the end of 2015 than I was last year.  Many of my 2014 goals have been reached, and it feels like I’ve got a better handle on life in general, which is a massive relief!  I want to give a huge thank-you to all of my friends, readers, subscribers, and followers.  You make this all worth-while.

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Happy Halloween!

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When I was a kid, I liked Halloween.  I enjoyed acquiring bags of candy and my mom always made us kick-ass costumes, but Christmas was better because presents.  Now that I’m an adult, Halloween has replaced Christmas for two reasons:

1) Any gifts acquired during Halloween are edible and therefore do not take up any real space in my house.  

2) Costumes.

Since getting into anime and cosplay, Halloween has become the best non-convention excuse to showcase some of the awesome costumes that I’ve put together over the last five years.  On Wednesday this week I wore a dark blue yukata decorated with white butterflies I bought at Katsucon, complete with a very simple white obi, tabi socks, and black wig.  On Friday I wore my latest iteration of steampunk.  (Yes, I skipped Thursday because I didn’t have anything else prepped.  My closet is in a state of disarray.)  And today I wore a lovely green and white vintage medieval-style dress that my friend Storm Elf bought for me years ago, but I’d never worn it before because it’s too fragile to survive the Renaissance Faire.

Damn, it’s fun to play dress-up.  Not only is it fun to see the expressions on people’s faces and receive compliments, but it also helps one’s writing.  Getting into clothing you normally don’t wear helps improve descriptions and enter a different head-space, even if you don’t really act like a different character.  And every visit to a thrift store because a treasure hunt of possibilities.  Part of me wishes I had more time, energy, money, and talent to create and wear better costumes more often.   Alas, it can be both expensive an exhausting after a while, so I don’t do it very often.  I’m starting to value quality over quantity.

Even though Halloween has history and traditions far older than the current (sometimes chintzy) version, for me the main draw is being able to transform into something different.  Something new.  I’m hoping that sense of excitement and adventure carries over into November as NaNoWriMo begins.

Enjoy your All Hallow’s Eve!  I’ve included a list of awesome Halloween-esque songs with links to their respective youtube videos. Enjoy!

~ * ~

Awesome Halloween-esque Songs:

“Moonlight Shadow” by Mike Oldfield (Remix by Blue UltrasGE)

“All Souls’ Night” by Loreena McKennitt

“Shadow of the Moon” by Blackmore’s Night

“FullMoon” by Sonata Arctica

“Mitternacht” by E. Nomine

“Ghost Love Score” by Nightwish

“Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo

~ * ~
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Influential Books: Part 3

This is the third part of a series of entries discussing various books that deeply influenced my writing and outlook on stories.  You can read the Introduction here, Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.  Please note that discussion of these books may contain spoilers.

Image via mycomicshop.com

Image via mycomicshop.com

 While writing these “Influential Books” posts, I’ve noticed that most of these books were read between the ages of 8 and 12.  I’m pretty sure I was 11 when I picked up a copy of The Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore.

It was after we’d moved, but we still came back to my hometown in Maryland occasionally.  I think we stopped to get Chinese food or maybe we stopped by the hardware store.  Either way, we had a little extra time, so Mom and Dad let us go into a nearby bookstore.  I had $20 of birthday money in my pocket; a small fortune to me.  I prowled through the shelves, not looking for anything in particular, although I always wanted to buy as many books as possible.  Then I noticed the lurid cover of the February 2000 paperback Collector’s Edition of The Dark Elf Trilogy, which promised to contain the first three books of the Chronicles of Drizzt: Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn.  That got my attention.  I love omnibuses, origin stories, and complete sets, plus I’d never heard of a “dark elf” before, so I bought it.

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Musings on Music

I have a mug that says, “God gave us music so we might sing without words.”  I’m not especially religious, but I do find music to be highly influential on my moods and inspirational for my writing.  I like creating soundtracks for my stories, seeking out songs that fit or explain characters or spark scenes.  Whenever I listen to music, if I hear a song that starts making me think of a scene or character, or just gives a certain mood to a story, I jot it down to add to that story’s playlist.

Some writers use music a lot for their writing.  My friend Foxglove Zayuri is like that.  She has massive playlists full of songs that inspire her characters and stories.  Music is very important to her writing process.  I’m not quite as intense; my playlists only have a dozen or so songs for each story.  Some songs may really feel like they match a character perfectly, like “Under the Rose” by HiM matches Scion Argent from The Mariner Sequence.  Others don’t seem to match up in as straightforward a fashion.  For example, I recently heard the theme from the British TV show Wycliffe by Nigel Hess, and that immediately made me think about Astral Rain.  I don’t really know why, but as soon as I heard it, images started pouring through my mind.  It really doesn’t matter how many songs you use, as long as they aren’t forced and inspire you.  After all, chances are no one except you will hear that soundtrack you compiled.

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