Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

This November and December have been an absolute, lovely dream so far. Thanksgiving was possibly the best of my entire life. Now, with the approach of the Christmas season, I've been feeling really cheerful and festive.

I started my decorating on December first, so the home is taking on a very warm atmosphere.

The Dining Room.

We've really been loving the fireplace to keep cozy and warm.

This picture really shows the ceiling beams, and the decorations on the staircase.
This is without a doubt going to be a Christmas to remember!

I also wanted to post a few of the bird photos I've managed to get. They aren't exactly great quality, but this place has proven to be a haven for wildlife. It's beyond beautiful and relaxing even in early Winter.. I can't imagine how it will be in Summer.

The Blue Jays here are plentiful, and they've really enjoyed visiting our feeders.
I've never seen so many in one place!

There's also a large population of Cardinals. They look so beautiful, especially when it snows.

This is a feeder my Dad built, and the birds go crazy over it!
You can see a Tufted Titmouse there in the entrance.

At any given moment, you can look out and see Goldfinch and Chickadees.

This little guy also frequently makes an appearance to eat the birdseed. Here he is on the roof, looking into the loft window. There's also a resident Opossum we've dubbed "Oswald", who visits the property every day in broad daylight. Sometimes, he even hangs out on the porch.

Here he is looking for the peanuts I tossed out for him.

Last, but not least, a photo of Gunther in one of his new favorite spots : in front of the fireplace!
I've never seen him as happy as he is living here! We feel the same.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Have a seat, and take a listen..

I'm well aware of the fact that very, very few people will care enough to take the time to listen to even just one of these songs, let alone the whole list.. But I wanted to share my absolute favorite songs to be released in 2014. The albums these songs are taken from are all incredible as a whole, so I suggest buying the album if you enjoy the song presented here. So, without further delay, here are what I consider to be some of the best songs released this year :

Godflesh - "Shut Me Down" from A World Only Lit By Fire

Godflesh, the absolutely legendary, untouchable pioneers of abrasive, "industrial" metal made their crushing comeback this year with what I believe is their heaviest album to date. The entire album is complete perfection to me, but this song has been on repeat a little more than the others. Pulsing, relentless, rough, and undeniably sexy.. Though descriptive words like that are pretty common coming from me when in reference to Godflesh. Regardless, the song is exceptional.

Jakob - "Blind Them With Science" from Sines

Jakob have slowly but steadily risen to become one of my all time favorite bands. Masters of post rock since their 1999 debut album, Jakob have proven once again why they reign supreme within this genre. Theirs is a unique blend of heavy guitar, and unmatched emotional, poignant moments that make their songs unforgettable. "Blind Them With Science" is typical Jakob, but perhaps more polished than their earlier work. As always, moving, heavy, and potently inspiring.

Emma Ruth Rundle
- "Living With The Black Dog" from Some Heavy Ocean

We'll drift now outside of the confines of "rock" and into soloist guitar work, though Emma Ruth Rundle is no stranger to extremely heavy genres, which is why I think her newest solo album is so profound and hard-hitting. This song in particular has really stuck with me since I heard this release. There is a gritty, dark sense of melancholy trapped inside this simplistic track, and it just gets under my skin.

Judd Madden - "Radio & Tone" from Everything In Waves

Judd Madden is my favorite "one man band" of all time. The music he creates is incredibly structured, balanced, and never lacking in moments that blow you away entirely. His new release is absolutely his best, and this song captivated me the most. Not to mention, my Husband Ascending Storm created ten separate paintings for the album, one for each song. Needless to say, this release was beyond epic.

YOB - "Unmask The Spectre" from Clearing the Path to Ascend

YOB are a recent infatuation of mine, and directly after falling in love with Atma, the new album was released. So unlike long-time fans, I almost felt as if the two albums bled directly into one another. The most accurate word to describe YOB's music is power. Mike Scheidt's vocals are some of the absolute best in the entire genre of "metal". Though I wouldn't classify YOB as metal at all. Not even "psychedelic" or "stoner" metal as they're often classified as. They are purely their own entity, and once their music finds its way into your soul it can never retreat. Their music to me is like taking a slow walk through a graveyard, but as you look around, you realize the earth is shaking, and every grave is being torn apart.

Pallbearer - "The Ghost I Used To Be" from Foundations of Burden

I have saved my favorite song/album for last on this list. This album, but perhaps this song the most, has become my favorite release of the year. Pallbearer are a relatively new band, so for them to be this groundbreaking after a few short years is a sign of immense things to come.. This album is, from start to finish, flawless. Filled with emotional, unforgettable moments and thought-provoking lyrics, yet it's also nowhere near lacking in brutal heaviness. What is more, they are phenomenal live. I had the pleasure of seeing them live last October, and it only made my love for this album grow leaps and bounds. They are passionate performers, and truly bring these songs to life. They are one of those bands whose music can't simply be called "music". It is art. I feel the same intensity, brilliance, and emotion in their music that I do in my favorite books and paintings. I'm so elated that I've come to know their music, and got a chance to see them, so early on in their career. I have very high hopes for this band, and I'll be awaiting their next release with bated breath.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sanctuary of Peace

After a long journey, we have arrived where we were always meant to be. For years, we traveled a road that was arduous, but it has lead us to a sanctuary of peace. A sanctuary where we will create decades of art and memories. Rather than sit here and write an enormous post about this beautiful place I've arrived at, I'm going to post a few photos. There will be more over time, but for now I feel these really give a feel of the place.

This is the first photo I ever took of the house. It was originally built for an Austrian couple in the 60's, so the house is considered an Austrian Chalet. The Austrian influence is obvious throughout the house, especially with the open beams in the living room and the loft.

One of the first things you see when you walk in is the massive, stone fireplace. I think it almost has a medieval feel to it, and Haziah has already found his new home next to it.

This is the view out the living room windows. It's the perfect spot for indoor plants, but also for watching the birds. The property is completely surrounded by trees, and on one side the property disappears into an expanse of forest, which is where the Barred Owl calls are coming from at night. There are also hawk nests, so we hear their calls all day.

This is where I've seen the most species of birds. When we moved in, I saw few birds on the property, but after setting up two feeders (there will be many more), I've seen more birds every day. There have been Blue Jays, Cardinals, Juncos, White-breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpeckers, Goldfinch, Black-capped Chickadees, and Chipping Sparrows. The number of species I'm seeing is increasing by the day! As an avid bird lover, this is pretty much thrilling to me.

This is the view out the dining room windows, where I set up another makeshift feeder in the birdbath. The Blue Jays love this one. Of course, every time I get out my camera, the rascals disappear, but I'll capture them at some point!

Another gorgeous view. This is the front yard, but viewed from the loft window.

This is a side view of the house, looking towards the dining room windows. The house sits on a hill, so running around the yard is kind of a workout!

This is the front porch, where I'll be stationed during all warm months! It overlooks the feeder in the pine tree, so the view is lovely. Over to the right is my favorite feeder we haven't set up yet, as it goes on a post that has to be placed in the ground.

Lastly, Gunther surveying his new kingdom from the front porch, billy goat style! I'm amazed how well this dog has adjusted to his new life. He hasn't had any accidents, already knows all the doors to tell us he wants to go out, and sleeps all night in my office in his bed. Every day, he looks forward to patrolling the property and is happy as a lark. I think he feels the way we feel, that this is where we are meant to be.. This is home.

Friday, October 17, 2014

On the Precipice

Few people can truly grasp what it feels like to be a fiction writer. Even many fiction writers themselves don’t feel the certain emotions others of us do about their work. For a lot of them, it’s a hobby, something they enjoy, something they even just do for a living.. But then there are other writers who fall into a different category entirely. Not necessarily in talent or skill, but in the way they feel about their work, but more specifically, their characters. I am, unfortunately, one of those writers I’m talking about.

The love I feel for my current protagonist rivals even the love I feel for many real people. The way I feel about him is as though he is a real person. As though he lives and breathes in some other place I can’t get to, and my heart clenches tightly at just the thought of him. Like a fist, and the idea of letting this character go, of never being able to touch him again, makes me want to ram that fist into a concrete wall.

So many people have asked me why this book isn’t yet finished, and I normally use the excuse of laziness, procrastination, or life just being too hectic. While all of those things are true, the main reason is that I don’t want to let him go yet. I want him to stay present. Relevant. Tied to me as a fledgling not yet ready to leave the nest..

That moment when I allow him to fly towards the horizon, it is finished. He will then belong to everyone who will ever meet him inside this story. He is no longer mine then, and I’m still too in love with him to set him free. When I finally do, there will not be a celebration as one might expect. There will be a period where I grieve for the loss of him. Where I listen to songs that remind me of him and weep. It will feel as though I’ve just left an intimate, four year relationship with someone who saturated my mind on a daily basis. It will feel like a loss more than a triumph, and that, more than anything, lets me know that I’ve chosen the right character. I've chosen the story I was meant to write at this time in my life.

Now, as I stand on the precipice of an entirely new life, in a new place, in a new home, I’m glad I was able to spend this period of my life with this character. This period of sheer strife and pain. He was my release, my comfort, and my escape.. I will finish his story just as I enter this new life, and that’s what makes it hurt so damn much. To leave behind the only thing that got me through one of the darkest moments of my life. The beauty of it is that I know there are people who need him more than I do, and I want him to belong to them.

Putting the blood, sweat, and tears into this novel for four years was the easy part..
It’s saying Goodbye that will tear me apart.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Limitless Reaches of the Earth - Song / Video Collaboration with The Rose Phantom

I had the pleasure of working with Ted Newsom, aka "The Rose Phantom" on an incredible project. Ted is a phenomenal musician, vocalist, and artist, and when he shared this eight minute track with me that he created I was flooded with ideas of my own. I wrote lyrics, and sang the lead vocal on this song. We also came up with ideas for a video, which has turned out better than I imagined! As well as being gifted musically, Ted is also a gifted filmmaker. This is a combined effort where two visions blended together into one explosion of creative energy, and I couldn't be any happier with the result.

Lyrics :

"Bright and gold the sun does burn.
Hot enough to stun the snakes.
Sand and Earth as red as blood.
Sky so blue it heals your heart.

Trees as far as eyes can see.
Light is seen in dots and beams.
Birds will sing from dawn to dusk.
Owls and wolves make night a dream.

Green to red and back again.
Rain to dust and back again.
Free is how you feel out here.
Free from pain and what is real.

Listen now to what you hear :
Desert song that draws you near..
Forest song erasing fear..
Is it what has brought us here?

An expanse of burnt sienna so daunting, it hints to unborn ideas.
A canopy so lush and green, it mends even the most shattered of dreams.

Can you feel the forest of the Soul?
Can you grasp the desert of the mind?
Landscapes so beautiful it hurts.
The limitless reaches of the Earth,
Are mirrored in our own consciousness.
In the way we search for truth.
In the way we reach for love."

View and purchase the track on Bandcamp :

Jeffrey Smith, aka Ascending Storm created an incredible cover image for this track.

Listen to more of Ted's music and see more videos at :
The Rose Phantom Official Website
The Rose Phantom Youtube

Friday, July 25, 2014

Poetry Readings : "Exoskeleton Man" and "Fluttering Sparrow Heart"

I don't normally like revealing the meaning behind my poems, but this was written about two of my own characters, who reside in an unwritten story. I wrote it from the point of view of a young girl who falls in love with her rugged, older protector as they traverse the wilderness. She battles between her love of him, and her disgust at both his rejection and hatred of himself. This ends when he leaves her behind to avoid breaking a promise to her deceased father. A promise that he would not taint her purity. This poem is from my poetry book "Fragments From Nowhere", which will soon be available as a Motion Book on DeviantART for public viewing. Music in this video is by Kevin MacLeod (

I wrote this poem from the point of view of a sparrow, but it was also intended as an abstract metaphor about conformity. This poem is from my poetry book "Fragments From Nowhere", which will also soon be available as a Motion Book on DeviantART for public viewing. Music in the video is by Kevin MacLeod (