Another Halloween Medley

Because everyone needs a medley now and then and Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love the costumes and the creativity. This year, I’ve been too busy to invest a lot of time into it, but I wanted to share a little seasonal fun with you all, so here is my Halloween medley. Last minute pumpkins.



Dressing up the kids.

Demon kitten

Bat dog demonstrating correct ear placement for an in flight right turn.

A bit of Halloween fun from Eldritch Black including Pumpkins, skeletons and a cat in a tutu.

No Halloween is complete without a little Manson. Here is Tim Burton's 'The Nightmare before Christmas' re-cut with Marilyn Manson's version of 'This Is Halloween' for the re-release of the film in Disney Digital 3-D and 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack.


If you’d like a little steampunk in your Halloween, you can visit my interview over at YA Interrobang.

For a little extra boost of steampunk Halloween, here’s Abney Park performing Evil Man in their studio.


Happy Halloween!

Sweet Romance: 君がいるから

If there is a consistent source of inspiration in my creative life it's music. I have more than one book idea that was inspired by a song and I often listen to music while I write, tailoring my playlist to the mood I’m trying to set in the scene. I also drive down the road singing along at the top of my lungs and dancing behind the wheel, but I try not to subject others to that part. karaoke I thought it might be fun to share some of the music that inspires me when I’m working. The first is one of my favorites of all time and a regular go to when I want a sweet romantic feel in a scene. This song isn’t inspiration for a first kiss or night of hot passion. This is two people who mean a great deal to one another discovering their love, reaffirming their love, or perhaps being reunited after a traumatic separation. It even works for non-romantic love, in the case of friends with a deep bond to one another.

This, for me, is one of those rare songs I always play two or three times every time it comes up in my playlist simply because I love it that much. It is in Japanese, however, so I provided a translation below the video.


"kimi ga irukara" (Because you’re here)

The rain which began to fall still hasn’t stopped crying Although the coldness was too painful because I didn’t have an umbrella with me… The one who warmed me up, was you

I, who have lost my voice, only sleeps as if I’m dead Although I cried as I became lost amidst the dream I can’t wake up from… The one who found me, was you

It was sad and distressing, if I look back Traces of the dream so transient Here and now, once again,


Is what I want to convey to you

If you will laugh, I’ll sing If you wish for it, I’ll be by your side If you are doubtful, I’ll say it as many times as it takes Until my voice withers…

Can you hear me? Am I reaching you? Because you’re here, I’m here.


Translation from here.

Because I’m always collecting more music, I’d love to hear what your favorite sweet romance songs are?

An Irish Ditty

The first part of the Europe trip I was either jet-lagged and/or sick, a state that I think came through all too well in my post about London (Walking in my Protagonist’s Shoes).h3025B033The second part of the trip I wasn’t in such bad shape. I was on the upside of the cold and, although I was heading into a sinus infection, I was a bit more coherent. That part of the trip we spent in Dublin. What’s not to like about Dublin? You go out sightseeing around town and it goes pretty much like this. Sing with me if you know it!


A church and a pub and a church and a church and a pub and a pub and a pub.

That’s not really an Irish Ditty, but it should be. (Oddly, some pubs got blurrier as the day went on.)

Christ Church Cathedral


St. Audoen's Church

St. Patrick's Cathedral




Proper Irish breakfast for the next morning.

Irish Breakfast.

I don’t have any stories set in Ireland yet, but there was plenty of inspiration to be found, including some fantastic old castles and ruins.

Trim Castle

Malahide Castle

Monastic Settlement at Glendalough

One of my favorite stops was the Trinity Library because…

Trinity Library

Books! Lots of books with lots of history woven into their dusty old pages. The best was the Book of Kells and its companions (of which I was not allowed to take pictures). This book is amazing both for the art and labor that went into its creation and for the efforts that went into keeping it safe (also, there is a great little animated movie that the book features in called The Secret of the Kells).

[youtube] We also made it out to Knowth and Newgrange, two of the largest of many burial mounds originally constructed around 3200BC and around which there is still much mystery. Getting to walk inside Newgrange was truly an opportunity to walk into history (yeah, that sounds corny, but it’s so very true).

Knowth site

Passage into large mound at Knowth


Newgrange entrance

As I was looking at these magnificent structures, a new story idea came into my head of… Oh, sorry, no spoilers. ;-)

Double Rainbow!!!

To wrap up, I wanted to share a little clip of live music from one of the pubs in Dublin because you always wrap up at a pub.


For a little more travel fun, you can visit these writer blogs answering the question: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Spiders, the Versatile Blogger Award and Stupid Birds

Before I get into the Versatile Blogger Award, I want to clarify another rule for spiders overlooked in Talking with Spiders: The House Rules. This one applies to all of you, regardless of type. If you drop in on me while I am driving, you get what's coming to you. This is not as funny as you seem to think it is. Now to a different set of rules, because these awards always come with rules.

1. Thank the person who nominated me.

Thanks, Mike!

2. Include a link to his/her blog.

You can learn about Mike and read all his wonderful blog posts at Realms of Perilous Wonder.

3. Nominate fifteen blogs I enjoy and follow.

Fifteen! Really? *sigh* I suspect many of you will have already received this nomination, but here goes...

  1. Simon Poore
  2. The Baffled King Composing
  3. Cora Ramos Blog
  4. Sonia G Medeiros
  5. Wordbitches
  6. Tami Clayton
  7. Margaret Miller's Blog
  8. Gabriel Rumbaut's Blog
  9. Sharkbait Writes
  10. Neither Here nor There
  11. Dr. Shay Fabbro
  12. Elizabeth Fais
  13. Two Gallants
  14. Liv Rancourt
  15. Patricia Caviglia

And 4. Tell you seven things about myself.

I know, how exciting is that? I can sense your electric anticipation now.

1. Started writing my first book in the 6th grade after reading Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce. It rambled and bounced all over the place. You couldn't dig out a cohesive plot if you read until your eyes bled, but it was delightfully creative. I still have it in one of my five briefcases full of hand written books and book ideas that sit in the corner of the loft.

2. I hate zucchini. My mom tried to make me eat it when I was little. I threw up on the table. I think that was the last time she tried to make me eat something I didn't like.

3. Last Halloween we had our second Steampunk themed Halloween party. The decorations are still up. This is not procrastination. This is a cunning plan to make it much easier to set up for the third one.

4. I've fought with a sword in heavy armor. Being hit in the head with a sword while wearing a metal helmet is not painful, but does seem to slow one down for a few seconds. The battle ended when I stepped back on the hem of my dress and fell flat on my back. I couldn't get up because the helmet was too heavy (and I was laughing too hard). Lessons learned:

    1. Just because the man on the other end of that sword claims to love you, it doesn't mean he won't try to beat the crap out of you.
    2. Don't wear a dress to a duel.

5. One place in life that I feel at peace is hanging on a rope in a cave above some long drop. Swallowed by darkness and listening to the drip of water or the occasional shift of rock as someone below or above waits. There is a sense of complete detachment from the rest of the world that is both humbling and revitalizing. I have found lesser degrees of this same peace sitting in my kayak on the ocean, riding my horse when we are working in harmony, and practicing iaido.

6. I am a music whore. I know, that doesn't sound very nice, but it's true. I love music. I can't get enough and I love discovering new music regardless of genre or language. I even have soundtracks in my dreams. It's like a thrilling big-screen movie every night in my head, only typically weirder.

7. I stole my mom’s socks. When I was unpacking from my visit, I found a pair of white socks in my suitcase. Since I forgot to pack socks, it was immediately apparent that these were not mine. Sorry, Mom. Unlike the good tweezers I stole when I first moved out of the house, I do actually intend to give the socks back when next I see you.

Lastly, a quick note to the bird that just ran into the picture window. That was the second stupidest thing you could do around here. The stupidest would be landing in the cat garden. I hope the impact didn't make you dumber because I hate finding bird parts in my house. Sleep it off and try a different trajectory next time.

Have any fun facts about yourself to share? I would love to hear them in the comments.

Happy living!

It’s a Kind of Magic

Books truly are a kind of magic. So writing them makes us magicians of a sort. The same magic can be found in many forms of art from the visual arts, like painting and cinema, to music (one of my personal favorites). I am happy today to bring to my blog a fellow writer, Catherine Johnson, who also sees magic all around us. Her blog is a wonderful collection of book reviews, fun stuff, and delightful creativity that I encourage you to visit. Here is Catherine with an enjoyable piece on magic.

Whether you are a writer or a reader, the word magic conjures up all sorts of fun things (pun intended). For some the word magic means a guy in a black cape waving a wand and producing a white rabbit out of his sleeve. For others it may be a guy in a purple cape with stars on waving a wand and turning you into a rabbit. Whatever perception you have, it is likely that you enjoy the image that the word Magic represents.

Read the rest on her blog here. Thanks Catherine

To wrap up, a little song that always comes to mind whenever I talk about magic. Enjoy!

A Musical Resolution

I was very resolute in my resolve not to make resolutions this year. (Yeah, that was an awful sentence.) Why? Because I never really got the point. Like everyone, I have goals and dreams, and I work at them all the time. I want to get my books published and I work at that every day of the week (sometimes on weekends too). I want to learn Japanese and I work at that every day of the week. I want to get more fit… Yeah, I work at that when I’m not recovering from an injury. I don’t make resolutions about it because, as it turns out, I have a knack for getting hurt. As a side note, I’d like to give that away if anyone is interested. No charge.

If you’re going to do a resolution, I believe it should be something fun. Something you won’t beat yourself up over if you haven’t accomplished it by the end of the year for whatever reason. That never helps. So, after much thought, I came up with a resolution for this year.


Here it is.

I resolve to listen to even more music.

I know, that sounds like a silly goal, but let me explain. I love music. Music runs through my head at all hours. Even my dreams have soundtracks. When I write, I often run Pandora because I have stations set up for the many moods I might want. If I need a fight in my story, I turn on my Angry station. If something sad is happening, I turn on my Melancholy station. Not only does this help set the mood, it has introduced me to many great new artists and songs and my music collection keeps growing.

My beloved truck.

Another key instigator for this resolution is my Christmas present. Some very bad people conspired to enable the purchase and installation of a new stereo system in my truck (you know who you are and I love you – you will all be beaten when you least expect it). I love my truck. All I have to do to improve my mood is drive somewhere in my truck and things feel better. With the advent of my new stereo, I am downright giddy by the time I get to my destination (via the longest possible route).

Just for fun, a few off my enormous list of current favorite artists (who are now helping me go deaf in my truck – but with amazing clarity).

I could go on for pages, but I’ll stop here. Tell me, how can a person go wrong with a resolution like that?

I’d love to hear some other takes on New Year’s resolutions. What are some of yours? I’m also always on the market for more good music, so feel free to offer your recommendations.

Happy New Year!