Thursday, August 20, 2015

Promptly Thursday: More Work on Anthology Stories

There is no prompt today. Summer and I were slackers and decided to just say screw it.

No, okay, that's a lie.

We did meet yesterday but it wasn't to work on a prompt for today. It was to discuss our shitty, stressful weeks, and also to brainstorm and talk about our anthology stories. I still am lacking a clear picture of exactly where I'm planning on going with mine but hopefully in time, the more that I write the clearer it will become.

For the story I chose to go with the third story starter from last week. The island with the creepy old castle and the "woe is me" goth girl. I would love to be able to write some form of modern gothic fiction with it (pun intended) but I've decided to not try and worry about genre labels. Instead, I'm just going to write and see where it takes me.

~ Whiskey

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Finds: Community

In keeping with the theme of “finds” I want to tell you about what I have found since consciously walking my spiritual path: community. The ripple-effect in my life has been just stunning. Through the grace of spirit, the new community that I have added to my life has helped me to a greater appreciation of those who have been in my life for a long time. My mom, my BFF, DJ, my soul sister, Sassfire, and my wife are all the foundation of my community. They are the ones that I know will always be there no matter where my path leads. But this is not to say that I always made time to see just what blessings they have been to me. Sometimes when you get lost in yourself, you pull away a bit - and that is a major weakness I am working on.  

I’ve mentioned before that last fall I crawled out from under my antisocial-leaning fairy garden and joined a group of fellow writers from SNHU on Facebook. This is where I made my first connections. We met in Google hangouts, and I avoided the camera (and the microphone) whenever possible. I’m pretty reserved sometimes, and actually quite proud of this trait. It means that I don’t share myself with just anyone. Finally, I started to connect with Whiskey and felt comfortable with some of the others. Sage and I connected when she sought Beta-readers for her novella and I eagerly took on the task. Not long after the group broke up, but these two are now my chosen family. Lifers.

I have made five or six friends through a variety of my course since then, and I have even begun to be connected with friends of friends. I have met so many other artists and zen-masters. I have found that the connection people have when they share a passion is immense. I have been lucky enough to meet two of these lovely friends in person when we visited the campus back in the spring, and I dearly hope to meet more of them next year. Time will tell. From editing each other’s work, to crying on each other’s proverbial shoulder as we go through the journey that only scholars and writers can know, I have been so thankful for the blessing of my growing community.

My community - these beautiful folks have helped me to keep pushing. The ones who hold my hope when I think it is lost. The ones who make me feel the comfort of "home" when I feel lost. The ones who don't tell me what I want to hear, but help me to grow. It’s just nice to know that there is someone out there who both believes in you and “gets it.” In my spiritual journey I have struggled so hard to be more positive. I believe that there is a lot of power in positivity. The community that I have made here has pulled me even deeper into that pool of positivity, and the waters have just kept me afloat. I know – lots of metaphors. I can’t get enough of water metaphors. These connections have made me more hopeful and compassionate about human beings, and even inspired me to rekindle some past relationships.

So, to all of you - I hope you know who you are - I honor you and thank you for being in my life and for walking along my path with me.  

Peace and Love


Photo Credits: Me

Monday, August 10, 2015

Muse-ic Monday: In Defense Of The Undead

Hollywood Undead is one of my favorite bands. I started listening to them from the first time that I heard "Undead" on the radio nearly ten years ago.

CAUTION - This post might not be work safe or for children. It contains explicit content that may even offend some adults. You've been warned!

They caught my attention because they were this strange mixture of rap and rock, but they were different than anything I'd ever heard before. They bent the genre even more. They were funny, yet their lyrics were dark, moody, offensive, and sometimes extremely scary and depressing. They are a group of six dudes, (now five it seems. Oh well, I didn't even realize Duece was gone. Guess he wasn't as important as he thought he was.), who rapped/sang about smoking weed, drinking whiskey, bangin' sluts and toting guns. They have great singing voices but they can also rap and scream pretty damn well too. They also wear these crazy, creepy masks ala Slipknot.

I know, you're saying “Holy shit, that's totally creepy.”

Yeah, well not really. It's all fun and games. They're really just a group of pretty normal looking guys. See?

I think that's why I love them so much. You know all of their songs about being hardcore, gun toting thugs are most likely bullshit. But, they do it so well, while listening to the songs, you totally don't care.

Normally I'd call this a form of selling out or straight up lying to fans. As an audiophile I find honesty between bands and their fans to be crucial. But right off the bat you know they're just guys having fun who found an entertaining way to make great music and some money from their talents. I can respect that shit, yo.

I think they are most famous for their humorous songs about partying and shootin' shit up, such as “Gangsta Sexy”, “Everywhere I Go”, “Comin' in Hot” and “Dead In Ditches”. They're a band that gets you in the mood to party and have some fun.

Some of my favorite lyrics to “Everywhere I Go” are as follows. I can't help but giggle every time I hear them.

Let's get this party jumping
Let's see some 40 chugging
I wanna see your booty rubbing
Against my dick when I start buzzing

Come on, girls, I wanna see you drinking
I wanna see your brains start shrinking
Make a move, I saw you winking
Drunken pussy's what I'm thinking

I don't give a fuck if you're drunk or not
Turn it up loud and feel the ambiance
Grab two hoes and do some body shots
I wanna party all night until they call the cops

Fuck a wristband, let's all do a keg stand
I'm like Cheech without the Chong hitting up the beer bong
When the cops show up, they're gonna get the finger
And I don't give a fuck 'cause I'm the designated drinker!

-Hollywood Undead “Everywhere I Go”

Now let's all listen along together!

Another favorite party song, well, my personal favorite party song from them. It's just so fun to drink whiskey too & dance around with your friends. "Comin In hot"

Aside from great party songs the band has much more to offer than that. Every time I get a craving for them it's because of these fun songs and then I'm quickly reminded how all around bad ass they are. They have some seriously powerful lyrics.

Pour me, pour me, pour me another,
It holds me, holds me,
Like no other,
One more drink, then I swear that I'm going home,
Truth is, I don't really have a place to go,
So pour me, pour me, pour me another.

I wake up right about the mid-afternoon,
With the sun in the sky but night's coming soon,
And I walk to the mirror just to fix myself,
Yeah life gets harder when you love nothing else,
So I pick my pills from the counter drawer,
Pick my self-esteem up off the fucking floor,
I guess I'm a man of no recourse,
As I crack another bottle, got no remorse,
And I'll say a little prayer for the child in me,
I swear I used to be what I truly believe,
That I'm not just a man with these broken dreams,
That even I could go to heaven,
If I part the seas...”

-Hollywood Undead “Pour Me”

Keep those speakers cranked up ya'll...I've got a few more of my favorite songs by them coming up back to back.

This next one is my all time favorite Undead song. It's beautifully dark and heartbreaking, laced with a little bit of hope.

(S.C.A.V.A was created by combining the names of two of their daughters, Scarlet (Danny's daughter) and Ava (J3T's daughter)

When the end is getting closer
And the earth has burned the sky
Now repent 'cause it's all over
Just let me die

Here's the massacre
A mausoleum fit for me
Lived a hundred years
A hundred years I didn't see
Gave all my hope away
Is there any left for me?
Bombs are splitting atoms
What can the future bring?
We can fill a million choirs
And wait 'till children sing
We can walk a million miles
And end up in the sea.
And our lungs just keep filling,
And lying when we breathe.
The world's filled with liars,
Liars like me!
And I look at my child
It's finite – this feeling.
Eyes blue like the sky
I see all of this meaning.
I reach up to God
And I ask if I'm dreaming.
So sorry I don't have
Those things that you're needing
And darling a kiss
Kiss me. I'm leaving!

When the end is getting closer
And the earth has burned the sky
Now repent 'cause it's all over
Just let me die
As my body lies here broken
And I'm carried to the light
Now my heart is finally open
Just let me die!

Everybody says greetings and goodbyes
Everybody pays – no one knows the price
We know the price of sin
The sin of sacrifice
I know I'll sin again
But who can save me twice?
How much can we ask?
You'll get the answer first
How much can we kneel
With the air that chills the Earth?
The air keeps getting colder.
My knees keep hitting dirt.
The innocent can cry without the guilty getting hurt.
You ask who you love and you don't know, no, do you?
The spirit of God just passes right through you.
You gave away heaven handed right to you
And I can see it all. Tell me, is it true?
Kiss me, my darling. Darling, I need you.

Where do we go?
We go, oh, Lord, I don't know
Where we go?
We don't know
I don't,
Where do we go?
We go, oh, Lord, I don't know
Where we go?
We don't know

Lord, I don't know!

When the end is getting closer
And the earth has burned the sky
Now repent 'cause it's all over
Just let me die
As my body lies here broken
And I'm carried to the light
Now my heart is finally open
Just let me die!”

Holywood Unded “S.C.A.V.A”

So C'mon, once again sing along with me kiddies! This is made using Anime. Beautiful.

Another favorite is “Take Me home”. This video has an incorrect title listed and it's made using cool video game cut scenes.

Lastly, just to prove they are indeed different than any band out there right now, let's listen to “Bullet”. It's a depressing song about suicide set to the happiest tune you'll ever hear.

I guess what I'm trying to say by this post is that you should never judge a book by it's cover. Don't judge them by only hearing a darkly depressing song, or by only having heard a crazy party song. Don't brush off this band as some poser ass, white boys who've never gang banged in their life. Don't hate on them for wearing weird masks. The truth of it is that it doesn't fucking matter whether or not Charlie Scene has ever had a six-some while poppin' caps in the PoPo's ass... What matters is that they're capable of suspending our disbelief. And that's why I love them. Musicians are writers too and that's what we're all about. Suspending disbelief and sucking you into the worlds we've created. Hollywood Undead has mastered this skill and adding music to their stories only make it that more intense. Some are obviously fictional but I'd be willing to bet there are also some autobiographical songs in there too.

I can't stand "real" rap that talks about the same issues that these dudes talk about. Yet, when they do it I love it. It's not because they're white. It's because they do it in a humorous manner. It's fun. Don't be offended. 

They're also my go to music for when I'm being insanely destructive and crazy playing APB: Reloaded. They're music is literally perfect for that game.

Next April I'll be attending my first ever music festival with some dear friends, Welcome To Rockville, and I'm praying that they'll be playing. I'd kill to see them live! 

Watch the music videos that I've posted above, all of them, don't just stop after the first one. And then please leave a comment about what you thought of them. Are they only posers using gimmicks to make money or are they something deeper than that?

Author  ~  Whiskey Black
Listening to Hollywood Undead “From The Ground”

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Finds: Goodwill YA Book Haul - August 2015

While visiting my mom earlier this week I stopped in one of the local Goodwill's to check out their book selection. Usually when I go there I always find something interesting.
This trip I walked away with seven books in great shape. Oddly enough most of them fall into the Young Adult category. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I like YA, as long as it's well written and not drowning in cliches...
If you'd like to know more about the books click on the pictures to be taken to their Amazon page. I'm too lazy today to take and upload my own pics. And really, what's the point when Amazon's covers look great, hmm?

The first book I grabbed was Revealers by Amanda Marrone.
I've never heard of the book or the author but I liked the shiny cover and the story seemed somewhat interesting. It's about a group of high school friends who are witches that have the power to make supernatural nasities reveal themselves. As each girl turns 18 and is initiated into the innermost circle of their coven weird shit starts happening and the main character has to figure out what's going on.

The second book I snagged was a softcover of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson.
I've heard good things about the book and the movie even though I don't know too much about the story line. I'm excited to finally get to check it out though!

Next I picked up Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater. I've never heard of her either, or so I thought, but upon further Amazon inspection it seems that she's written some werewolf books that I sort of want to check out. Although I own a few faerie books I've never read any, yet. Oh, did I mention that it's a signed copy? Score!

I also picked up a slightly warped, but still in good shape, copy of Immortal: Love Stories With Bite. It's a vampire anthology featuring stories by Tanith Lee, Rachel Caine, Claudia Gray and others. Once again, I've never read anything by any of these authors but I felt that it was worth a gamble since I only had to pay a buck for it.

Speaking of Claudia Gray, I stumbled upon a shiny, sexy hardcover of Fateful. A dark romance set aboard the Titanic..and it has werewolves! Sounds original enough to me. Certainly better than that other story set aboard the sinking ship.

I also picked up a brand new copy of Hades by Alexandra Adornetto. I've been wanting to read this series for awhile now so when I saw the second book in this series, in hardcover, in such great shape, for less than two bucks, I couldn't help but pick it up.

The last book that I discovered was also YA. Raised By Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. It's a werewolf book, so naturally I picked it up with barely a second thought. I can't help it, I'm always on the lookout for new and exciting, well written wolf stories. Sadly it's something that seems to be seriously lacking in the YA genre, hell, even the adult genre. I can't wait till I have mine written. They certainly will be lacking most of the typical cliches, thank Gods.
Anyway, sorry for the shameless self plug there.
This is about a young girl whose family gets violently shredded by a werewolf and then she gets raised by a pack of them. Well, that sounds a lot like Underworld there minus the vampires, hmmm? Of course that doesn't mean the book is going to suck, err...bite. It still sounds interesting. Hopefully it won't disappoint.
As it stands right now I'm happy with my purchases. I've been meaning to check out some new YA books, as opposed to the older ones by R.L Stine, Christopher Pike and L.J Smith that I grew up reading. Of course, YA authors today need to take a hint from these masters. YA doesn't have to be watered down, it can be violent, bloody and just as horrific as adult horror if done the right way. Nothing pisses me off more than a potentially great YA book that's reads like it's written for a five year old. Just because you're writing for a younger audience doesn't mean that you have to write like you're a part of it.
Author ~ Whiskey black
Listening to “Queen B” by Puscifer

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Tuesday Review: The Writer's Workout Cont'd 2

This week we're continuing along with the Writer's Workout book.

In the previous post we discussed days one through three. Math's not my strongest subject but I'm pretty sure that puts us at number four next. Haha.

Number 4. Promote Yourself:

In today's digital age it's kind of mandatory for writer's to have some form of web presence. Well okay, maybe not mandatory but it's encouraged. Having a way to interact with your fans helps to create more loyal fans as well as draw in new ones.

A writer platform is an important piece of the promotion puzzle. It might even be the most important piece.

That's the entire point of this blog that Summer and I have started. It's a way for us to showcase some of our fiction writing. It also helps the  nonfiction side of things as a way to show off our personal style of more casual writing.

Number 5. Micro-invest In Learning:

I'm not sure that I agree this is required for creating a great writer, but it sure doesn't hurt. I didn't get this memo though, I major-invested in learning with a BA degree and I'm totally loving it.
If you're interested in learning about writing there are plenty of classes and workshops online, some are even free.

Summer and I love learning about the craft of writing. I once had another writer friend tell me that they couldn't stand reading books on the craft. I found that really strange. I love learning about things that I love and finding out ways to constantly improve myself. I'd think that anyone would love learning about something they're passionate about, but I guess not. People are strange...

Okay. That's all for today folks. I'm not feeling well but I'll return tomorrow with a new post!

Author ~ Whiskey Black