Is it Monday already? :grumbles:

28 09 2009

Weather: High: 65° & rainy. That’s more LIKE IT!

Well at least the weather is finally acting like it’s fall. Had a run in with some scary weather last night. Nothing makes my nerves go into overdrive faster than hearing the tornado sirens going off at 10 o’clock at night. Not going to miss that when we move to Seattle. Yes, yes I know there are volcanoes out there. I’d prefer hot lava to raging winds and house leveling debris, thank you very much.

Working on my WIP, which is almost WFD,GDI. (Work Finally Done, Gods Damn It!) Just updated my NaNoWriMo page as well.

Short post today. Busy Busy Busy.






The Music Cocoon

24 09 2009

Weather: High: 77º & cloudy. I swear, Weather Gods, you’re getting to be a broken record. I can haz 60s nao pls???

So, as you can tell from the subject line, I’m gonna wax verbosely about music AGAIN. Can’t help it folks, it’s an obsession.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m finding myself less inclined to get defensive over the music I listen to or the bands I happen to like. Not that I ever really did, mind you.  I do find, however, that I’m getting a little more easily annoyed with critics who dismiss a popular band out of hand, merely for their popularity, while trumpeting about an obscure band, merely because of their obscurity.

Music for me is always about personal taste. I honestly don’t believe anyone’s tastes trumps anyone else’s. I absolutely think that people can recommend or dismiss bands based on their personal opinion, but for anyone to state that their taste somehow supersedes all others because they can quote music theory chapter and verse? Well, they’re missing the point.

Music is not something that fits into neat little boxes.
It’s personal. It’s emotional. And therefore what resonates with one person will not resonate with another. As in most art, what music resonates for you will be what speaks to your heart, your philosophy, your culture and your experience. Joe Critic doesn’t have access to your take on those things, so his opinion, even if well informed, doesn’t have to proscribe your musical tastes or be a cause for defensiveness about what bands you follow.

My music library spans most genres, and probably contains at least 50% content that most people would describe as “guilty pleasures”.  I find that most music I listen to with any kind of frequency resonates on an emotional level for me.

When I talk about the music cocoon, I’m talking about that headspace where the music envelopes you and creates an atmosphere that completely blots out everything else.  It has little to do with volume, though loud is sometimes a good thing. 😉 It has little to do with complexity, because sometimes a simple piano ballad, if well done, can be as overwhelming as a full string section and layered harmonies.

Music is one of the few pure forms of escapism we have. It can transport you, raise your mood, give you energy, relax you or help you fall in love. It’s the literal soundtrack of our lives. Never apologize for what you listen to, and definitely never let anyone dictate what your tastes should be. You can always expand your listening horizons. Never contract them.

I love rock music as much as I love classical. And I love techno, industrial, classic rock, jazz, musicals, R&B and about every subgenre in between.  I’m a song person, rather than a band or album person, though I do have some bands that have earned my unwavering loyalty. (I’ve been a Depeche Mode fan for 25+ years!)

Ultimately, music informs pretty much every word I write in some way. I have writing mixes for particular stories and particular characters. Music molds my writing. Permeates it in a very specific way. Because I write visually, every scene plays out like a movie in my head. And all movies need music. 🙂

Music is a cocoon. Something you can wrap yourself in, lose yourself for a while, and emerge as a changed person. It’s up to you whether you allow yourself the experience and how deeply.

So excuse me. Gonna go wrap myself up in some quirky prog rock with side dish of dark alt rock and commiserate with my muses.  🙂

—————-
Now playing: Muse – I Belong To You/Mon Cœur S’ouvre À Ta Voix
via FoxyTunes





Plotholes & Con Crud & NEW MUSIC, Oh MY!

23 09 2009

Weather: High: 77º and partly sunny. WTF?! WEATHER GODS! It’s BLOODY FALL! How about some cool temps??

Have slipped in my blogging duties. Must get back into the daily habit. Though I do have a viable excuse for my recent lack of inter-webby presence. First, I’ve been fighting con crud, that lovely post convention soupςon of sinus congestion & raspy cough. Second, between bossless week, last week and teaching two a day classes this week, I’ve been a wee bit SWAMPED at work. Sigh.
So-::cracks knuckles::- Lets’ see what’s been going on in my demented world.

On the writing front, I’ve finally started the epilogue for “When the Lights Go Down“. Which is a small victory unto itself. Of course, I’ve also started some rewrites, which unearthed a rather vexing couple of plotholes. I’ve fixed the most egregious of the two, but the remaining one will require some rather fine tune adjustments throughout the manuscript to eliminate the minor mentions related to it. So…I have more work than I realized before I can get into the regular re-write function.

Also, masochist that I am, I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year.  I figure I can use it as a sort of writing sorbet…to cleanse the mental writing palate before heading back into rewrites. If I use it well, I might be able to bang out a novella I can shop around as well. ::checks for jacket I can hug myself all day long in:: Yep, all set. November insanity, here I come.

On the home front, Bri and I have finally started the full court press to get the house in shape for sale. We’re also starting our job hunt in Seattle in earnest. I know it’s gonna be a tough slog in this current market, but I figure, between Bri and I, we have a wealth of work experience in a variety of fields. ( I just wish I’d kept my programming chops up to speed!) .  Our current debacle is trying to finance new carpeting for the basement. (Yes, the same carpeting we yanked up last year after our mini-flood.) We need to still get the outside of the house power washed, do some touch up painting, finish the yard landscaping, and then do a few thousand cosmetic things INSIDE the house. We’re hoping to have the house on the market come March or April, with an eye towards moving in the summer. We’ll see if our best laid plans come to fruition.

Music squee:

So I’ve obtained a crapload of new music and all of it has been just amazing. First off, got the new Muse album, “The Resistance”. There aren’t words. SO FECKING AMAZING. From soup to nuts one of the most brilliant albums I’ve heard in ages.  It has echoes of Queen in it, but Muse has their unique stamp all over it. It’s prog rock, but lacking the usual pretentiousness that gets that genre mocked. It’s intelligent, and social commentary, and just massive in scope. There are straight ahead rock songs (Uprising, Resistance, MK Ultra, Unnatural Selection) , Quirky gems (I Belong To You/Mon Cœur S’ouvre À Ta Voix, Undisclosed Desires) and of course ZOMG EPIC ORCHESTRAL PIECES! (Exogenesis: Symphony parts 1-3) . It’s eminently listenable from beginning to end. And yes, it’s already embedded all over my writing mixes. (“Undisclosed Desires” has become Devon & Sara’s theme song. LOL!)
Here’s the video for “Uprising” , Zombie Teddy Bears & All!

Next I got the new Three Days Grace album, “Life Starts Now”. It BLEW ME AWAY. Seriously. These guys get dismissed out of hand by a lot of hipsters and indie critics and I just do not understand the hate.
Adam Gontier, their lead singer, has an amazing voice, and this time around, he gets to use ALL his range. The last two albums have been heavy on the dark hard rock they’ve made their trademark. This album feels a little more hopeful. And the music has just expanded creatively as well. 3DG are masters of the good stompy rock riff. They EXCEL at it. But Life Starts Now is riddled with experimental sounds, non-standard timings, pianos, strings, and harmonies using more than the standard chord structures.  My favorite songs change day to day. Yesterday I was blasting “The Good Life” with it’s AFI-like choruses and stompy bass & drum rhythms.  Today, I seem to be constantly queuing up “World Gone Cold” with it’s eerie chorusy-guitar intro and amazing vocals by Adam. (ETA: Apparently I’m not alone–the song is in the Top Ten on I-Tunes Rock singles already!)
Honestly there isn’t a bad tune on the whole damn album. The songs are brief, the longest barely nudging 5 minutes, but they’re layered thickly with sound and meaty guitar work.  Barry Stock, the lead guitarist, has put down some amazing riffs all over the album. And the rhythm work from Neil Sanderson (on drums) and Brad Walst (on bass) is sturdy, yet takes creative turns as well. There are echoes of Alice in Chains here as well, but 3DG has definitely put their own unique overlay on them, making it something entirely their own.
For a third album, it’s a fantastic step up from a band that gets less credit than it should.  (Of course, I might be a little biased, considering how much their music has played a hand in getting my book written. 😉 )
Here’s a vid of Adam talking about the recording of “Break“, the first single.

Also got the new : tatsu ep : from Faith & the Muse. Amazing as always. It’s a taster for their new album, : ankoku butoh : that will be released on Halloween this year. SO LOOKING FORWARD TO IT! (It will also come packaged with a DVD & book. Squee!)
Since there are few vids for F&TM, they posted snippets at their website.
Click here to see “Cantus”.
They’re an amazing band!

Well I think that brings us up to date. OH and I FINALLY got our Writers’ Cabal shirts made. Here’s what the logo looks like:

Writers Cabal VD

Yup. Looks wicked awesome!

Hopefully our ranks will swell. 🙂

—————-
Now playing: Three Days Grace – World So Cold
via FoxyTunes





VMA musings & some writing stuff

14 09 2009

Weather: High: 84º & partly sunny. WHEN WILL THIS TORMENT END?? Grey & cool day, pls!

Weekend was enjoyable. Mostly spent it relaxing with the husband and celebrating his birthday. Made him a hot mess of a cake (Literally! IT was tasty as hell, but I actually cracked the top layer and tried to glue it together with frosting. The top layer was also still a little warm, so the broken layer split and slid in three directions! LOL! But it was TASTY! I mixed some orange extract in with the chocolate frosting for the middle layer and ended up with a Devils’ food cake with Fudge & orange frosting.  We put it in the fridge after the sliding fiasco, and it seems to be holding up okay so far. 🙂

Watched the VMA’s last night.  Usually I come away annoyed and dissatisfied, but this time I was surprisingly impressed. Russell Brand was kept on a short leash, more’s the pity. But the PERFORMANCES were amazing. Lady Gaga’s was impressive. I know there’s a whole slew of people who dismiss her out of hand, but she has a fantastic voice and put to shame all the previous pop divas who’ve lip synced on stage. Her stageset was gorgeous and her outfit, was typical Haus of GaGa. Seriously, I think a lot of people overlook the fact that she can actually SING because of all the hype and craziness. Muse was AMAZING! How American audiences have overlooked them is CRIMINAL. They performed Uprising and the audience (Apparently 700 fans) were SINGING ALONG. Take that you eejits! Pink’s performance was the third one I loved. She performed “Sober” while getting flung around suspended above the audience. Not just hanging there singing, mind you– Actually doing some Cirque Du Soleil moves! ALSO not lip syncing! Of the other performances, Taylor Swift was actually better than expected, and carried a lot of energy. Beyoncé’s was less impressive. I mean, yeah she can dance, and when she did sing, she was good. But at least half the song was backing track. Not really impressive. But she did make up for it with the classiest move ever at an awards show –After she won Video of the Year, Beyoncé allowed Taylor Swift to use her time at the podium  to finish her speech from earlier (When she had been interrupted by a particularly DICK move by Kanye West.)  Jay-Z’s performance at the end was good, but I’m not a big rap fan. Alicia Keye’s accompaniment was fantastic, though. OH! Green Day KILLED! They performed “East Jesus Nowhere” and invited the crowd onto the stage. AWESOME! Anyway -That’s what I took away from the show.

Getting back up to speed on the WIP. Still slowly ramping up. Also I’m realizing that I need to get an idea together for NaNoWriMo. I’m thinking of writing a straight Paranormal Romance and seeing if I can not only get the required 50K but ultimately wring a total 70K out of the idea. But first, I need to HAVE the idea. I’m thinking either a magic based or other form of paranormal creature. I’ve got two vampire novels on the burners already. And a cambion. And a fallen angel. And a Dark Sidhe. Need to try some new waters this time.

Ah well. Day got away from me again. Here: Have the new Three Days Grace video for a view. I like it. The rest of the fans seem a little down on it because it’s not all dark and emo. Rather like that they used the album cover colors as the color palette. And I love Adam’s sort of “wink wink” smile on the vampire line. (Of course, just makes what I’m writing more amusing.)  Apologies on the autoplay. I have no Idea how to turn it off.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Have a good evening folks.





Dragon*Con Musings…..

8 09 2009

Weather: High: 75º and partly cloudy.

So we’ve managed to survive our first Dragon*Con. And we enjoyed it so much that we’ll be returning next year. (Though this time around we’ll definitely be staying at a con hotel.)

so here’s the whole tale of the trip as I recall it.

Thursday:

After a late start, Bri and I piled into the car and drove to Atlanta. The drive wasn’t too bad until we hit hour #12 and started getting the drive madness that sets in about then. We had hoped to be in Atlanta by dinner time, but ended up checking into our hotel room (our WEE hotel room) at 10pm local time.  After making the requisite phone calls and texting everyone to let them know we landed, we hooked up with our friends Heather & Chris who were staying at the same hotel for a late dinner and some fantastic convo. (BTW- Heather & Chris have a fantastic website  here for their publishing company: Triscelle Publishing. Go check it out) Then it was off to bed so we could get some sleep before the festivities began.

Friday:

Up early for breakfast and off to Pre-Reg, Which involved standing in a very long labyrinthine line that got smellier as we went along, to get our Badges and con booklets. We were lucky! After hearing horror stories of 2-3 hour waits, we got through the line in a miraculous 45 minutes.  Then it was off to panels!We lined up for a panel and while waiting in line, met up with two of my favorite online friends, Anne Marie & Kara. Wonderful to meet people I’ve only been able to converse with online.  Then to the panel! It was a Farscape panel with Lani Tupu and Virginia Hey. Funny and gracious on both their parts, ti was informative and funny. We re-hooked up with Heather & Chris again after this panel and Heather and I headed off to some writing panels. First up was the “Vampires are the New Vampires” panel which was very informative.(Panel: Rosemary Laurey, Alethea Kontis, J F Lewis, Richelle Mead, Allan Gilbreath, Derek Tatum) Got to ask my first question about how to market a vampire novel in this ever expanding genre & received a lot of good feedback. A lot of authors that I am now in the process of looking up were on the panel and I got a nice insight on how different the takes on the genre have been fleshed out.

Then we went to get in line for the BSG panel. (There was an ongoing theme of standing in line for a lot of things! LOL) Met up with my long time friend Terri Osborne (author of numerous tie-in Trek novels & a soon to be published Stargate:Atlantis novel, in addition to her own line of “Realms Next Door” books.) Nice to see her after a couple of years. (She and I went to college together and have known each other for about 20+ years) So after a bit of geebling, we met up with Heather & Chris again for the BSG big panel. (Cast including Luciana Carroll, Kate Vernon, Mike Hogan, Michael Trucco, Kandyse McClure, and Alisandro Juliani) Very funny and nice to hear all the behind the scenes stories. We headed out to dinner with Heather & Chris then off to bed.Yes we’re that sad. Really wanted to stay up for the Abney Park gig, but between the drive and all the excitement during the day….my 42 year old body was not having it. 😦

Saturday:

Up early again for more writing panels. First up was “Time travel & Paranormal writing” which had Terri Osborne & Anna DeStefano on the panel. (The entire panel: Chesya Burke (M), Terri Osborne, Carole Nelson Douglas, Rita Herron, Anna DeStefano, Mari Mancusi) I was really happy I got to see Anna and talk with her briefly as we’ve conversed a bit on Twitter. She made sure we got a photo together as well. 🙂 Terri and I conversed briefly before the panel about the “Realms Next Door” chapbook that she’d brought along and then it was time for the panel. Great discussion on how best to utilize the mechanics of time travel in story telling, along with some great discussion on how the paranormal market is exploding right now. After this we took a quick run up to the Hyatt Concourse to catch the Faith & the Muse Acoustic set which was AMAZING. Back to another panel, this time on “Herding cats..er fictional Characters” which was a very lively discussion on character development. Gene Wolfe was on the panel and was at turns brilliant and hysterically funny. (Panel was Sandra Anglin Chastain, Kathleen O’Shea David, Rebecca Moesta, Janny Wurts, Toni Weisskopf, Gene Wolfe, Gary Raisor). I then ran off to kidnap my friend, author Phaedra Weldon ,from the Catalyst Games booth so we could meet up with the rest of the fangirls to see Abney Park’s acoustic set Since I’d missed their gig, I was NOT missing their set today. It was made of AWESOME! They performed a few classic tunes & a few of their own, and included a lovely mess of a cover of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” that has to be seen to be believed.

SEE? They’re awesome! After I got a copy of one of their albums that I was missing and got my Abney Park messenger bag signed by Kristina. Phaedra went back off to her booth and I floated on a fangirl cloud out to where Brian & Chris were holding places for me and Heather in line for the BEEG Farscape panel. Which was also FTW! Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Lani Tupu & Virginia Hey held a lively & funny as hell unmoderated panel. (I have some photos I’ll post later!) After this it was back to zee hotel and a lovely, if expensive dinner. Bri and I turned in for the night.

Sunday:

Up REALLY early for breakfast. Had a 10 am panel with Heather & Chris.. Bri’s first wasn’t til 11:30 so he met up with us later.

First panel was Paranormal Fiction & Urban Fantasy (Panel: Rosemary Laurey, Susan Sizemore, Jennifer Heddle, Jeanne C. Stein, Jackie Kessler, Heather Osborn, Mari Mancusi, Julie Kenner, Liz Maverick, Carol Malcolm ) Lively discussion on what the differences and similarities between the two genres, and how marketing is kinda fuzzy here. (Also realized my writing may lean more to PR rather than UF. Hmmm. ) Was very helpful for me & Heather (who is a librarian and runs into categorization problems as well)

Next up was Writing Paranormal Fiction (Panel:Dr. Bob Blackwood (M), Sandra Anglin Chastain, Gail Z. Martin (M), Christina Barber, Carole Nelson Douglas, Rita Herron, Jennifer St. Giles, Tracy S. Morris, Kat Richardson, Heather Osborn, Anna DeStefano, Laura Anne Gilman) This unfortunately was moderated a little too formally and was stuck in a very small room for such a large panel. But still, I got a comment in and got to FINALLY chat with my friend Laura Anne.  While I was in this panel, Brian was attending a panel on Steampunk Attire for men . (WIBBLE) We snagged Terri, Heather & Chris for some lunchtime Sushi and had a nice chat. Then Bri, Heather, Chris & I were off to A Self-Publishing panel. We caught the last 15 minutes of the Copyright Law panel and I’m really glad we did. Good info! The self-Publishing panel was really informative and was more a compare & contrast of self vs. traditional publishing. We got a lot of pros and cons for both avenues, which was more than helpful.

After all this, Bri and I parted ways with Heather & Chris and were off to dinner by invite with Kathleen & Peter David. Wonderful dinner, wonderful conversation with a bunch of authors and friends & a hilarious MST3K-ing of the Dragon*Con Parade, which we watched on Dragoncon TV. After, we & a couple of friends went to the elevated platform overlooking the Atrium Floor at the Marriott, had a couple of drinks and enjoyed the people watching before heading back to out hotel to pack.

Oh! (FACEPALM) Before Dinner: I had my first real mortifying fangirl moment. Bri and I ran into Nathaniel from Abney Park in the little shop at the hotel. I was at first reluctant to approach him, because I didn’t want to be THAT ANNOYING FANGIRL. But, he was starting to leave and I blurted out “Nathan, can I get you to sign my bag?” (I fumbled the name, because nathan is part of his LJ & Twitter name…OY!) He was all “OF COURSE! but then realized he didn’t’ have a pen on him. But I did! So pulled out my cache of pens which I had rubber banded together, and pulled out the sharpie, which launched two other pens at the poor man. (Facepalm #2) He was absolutely lovely, and instead of being appalled at my shaking nervous fumbling, got down on one knee and asked “Fair Lady, may I sign your bag?” I giggled and replied” Please do kind sir…” He signed my bag, stood up and said. “Now I need a hug!” Which I was all too happy to provide. (Again, what a wonderful sweet guy!) I told him about us missing their gig in Seattle earlier this year and that we were moving to Seattle next year (Which I got a smile and a fist bump in response!) He made sure I knew when they were having their next show in Seattle and I thanked him and that was that. He left, I was mortified but happy, and hopefully he remembers me as the awkward but nice girl from the shop. Sigh.My husband spent the next 15 minutes reassuring me that I wasn’t a complete pratt. Double sigh.

Monday:

Up early for breakfast with Heather & Chris (Who I might just add fro the thousandth time are the LOVELIEST PEOPLE.) We said our goodbyes and piled into the car for the eleven hour drive home.

All in all it was a fantastic, if exhausting time. I got a ton of great advice and motivation for my writing. Met more wonderful people that I am humbled to call friends. Saw some fantastic performances & have definitely made the decision to attend again next year!

So Dragon*Con 2009, I enjoyed every minute of you!





DRAGON*CON IMMINENT!

2 09 2009

Weather: High: 73 º and sunny!

SO excited to go to Dragon*Con.  Cannot brain today. Have pre vacation short timer’s attention span.

Can’t think coherently today. Will post hopefully from DragonCon!