A Quote and Back to Work!

I am a little too happy to announce that the semester is over and I am getting back to work on the Book 1 reformatting edits and writing book 2.  There are also those posts from last month that I still owe you guys.  Never fear, all is simmering nicely and ready to be moved to the front burner now that finals are over.

A Quote from Harlan Ellison

I am eager to get started on the catch up work, so without further ado, adieu!

New Concept Cover and Update

So the new concept cover is pretty nifty if I do say so myself.  And things are rolling along with the schoolwork.

I have the photos from the retreat uploaded, but the editing may take a few days.  In the interim, I give you this to feast your eyes on.  This is just the initial concept for the idea.  I am even now looking into how to turn this into goodies for my readers.  The question is, what do YOU want to see?  Fiction, nonfiction, full novel, collected shorts, poetry chapbook?  You can leave your thoughts in the comments or drop me a line at tcmedia@hotmail,com . I’d love to hear from you!

And so, without furBackwoods Gothicther ado, here it is…

You can see more of my concept development and meme generation on their new pages under the Nonfiction tab in the portfolio.

Enjoy!

Short Break

Spring break is over at school and that means I have to put my head down and get to work.

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April is going to be a busy month.  Tomorrow I go to the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters’ Conference with my classmates and then this weekend I am going to the wildcrafting retreat at St. Francis of the Woods, and in order to get all my homework done and prep for finals, I will have to take a short blog break.  A vacation if you like, just to get the semester rounded up well.  I like to finish strong.

To make up for my absence, I will try to post about the retreat and the conference on Facebook.  These will be the only ones until May, however, as I get on the schoolwork and build up material.

I may also have some amazing news soon about the broadcasting part of my career change.  I’ll have to wait a little while to know for sure, but the minute I find out, you can bet I’ll be posting.

Those who follow me on Facebook will know everything first, so If you want to be the first, look there.  You can find me here, here, or here. I am also on Instagram and twitter, and sometimes if I’m on the go that’s the only way I can update.  It’s about to get interesting!

 

Monstrous Monday: Crimson Peak

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Do ghosts qualify as monsters?  How about the murderers who made them?

Cover art for Crimson Peak
Image permission through EPK.TV

Crimson Peak has both, and this delightfully Gothic Horror has the added bonus of some seriously shocking scenes.  Director Guillermo delTorro makes the most of the genre’s atmosphere to deliver what may be the best movie in its class this year. Drawing from sources like Rebecca and Wuthering Heights, delToro collaborates with screenwriter Matthew Robbins to create a place like no other, a place where the very earth bleeds.

 

 

Our heroine Edith Cushing is swept off her feet by the handsome and titled Baronet Sir Thomas Sharpe, but something is not quite right with her newfound love and his land.

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Image Permission through EPK.TV
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Image Permission through EPK.TV

Surrounded by strange happenings, and gifted with the ability to see ghosts, a grave warning from her mother’s ghost goes misunderstood until it is too late.

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Image permission through EPK.TV

 

Thomas’ Sister Lucille seems to have an agenda of her own.  When new ghosts show up to haunt her in her new home, Edith knows all is not well, but will all of her revelations come too late to save her?

 

 

 

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Image permission through EPK.TV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In her corner is would-be beau, Dr. Alan Michael.  Dr. Michael picked up her cause when things begin to not add up, and then it is a race against the clock to save Edith.  With winter closing in, Crimson Peak is swiftly becoming the most dangerous place for her in the world.

Overall this is the most enjoyable Gothic flick I have seen in a very long time.  I give it four and a half skulls, if not for horror, then for the full attention to detail and for being absolutely true to the Gothic genre. LOVE IT.

~D

Wild About Wednesday: Wild Spring Scramble

Closeup of ham and eggs scrambled with wild asparagus, wold onions and morel mushrooms from last year's harvest.

Oklahoma is lucky to have such a diversity of wild and naturalized plant species.  Every year, my wildcrafting friends and I take to the woods to seek out the plants that make great food and natural remedies.  After more than twenty years, I am still learning new things from our local heritage wildcrafters, and there will still be plenty to learn when I’m gone.  Until then, I will share with you what I do know, and maybe you can pass it along to others.

As always, remember to NEVER eat anything you don’t have a 100% ID on.  Mistakes in the field can be deadly.  Every year there are people who are sickened and even die due to misidentification of species, especially mushrooms.

There are a lot of mushroom species that I don’t know, but one that I do know and love dearly is the morel.  My husband introduced me to these succulent beauties, and it has been a love affair for the ages.  Morel hunting is the one bit of wildcrafting we do together, otherwise he does most of the fishing and I do most of the other stuff.  This week was particularly prosperous for us, as we had this scramble for breakfast one day and then just Thursday, we had some of his fresh catfish.  (SIGH<<<)

Anyhoot, this scramble brings together elevates the ordinary ham and eggs breakfast from everyday to gourmet.  Here’s what you’ll need:Wild Spring Scramble 1

4 Large Eggs

2-3 Tbsp Butter or olive oil (for sauteing)

7-10 young tender wild onions

5-7 shoots of wild asparagus

10-12 dried morel halves

milk to cover mushrooms

Salt and pepper to taste

About 20 minutes before you begin, place dried morels in a bowl and cover them with the milk (you can use unsweetened almond milk if you’re sensitive).  The milk will re-hydrate the mushrooms beautifully.

Remove any woody parts of the wild asparagus by bending the stalks gently starting at the lowest part and working up toward the growing tip.  They will snap easily where the stalk becomes tender. Wash and chop the stalks into 1/2 to 1″ pieces.

Wash and chop the wild onions fairly fine.  Don’t be tempted to throw the bulbs away, they add a lot of flavor.  I just pinch off the roots with my fingernails, and pull off any old layers.

After they’ve softened and regained some of their springy texture, squeeze excess milk out of the morel halves back into the soaking bowl and chop the morels just into bite size pieces, or about 1/2″ pieces.

Melt butter in a skillet and add asparagus first.  Once they’ve brightened, add the onions and mushrooms.  Saute until tender-crisp.  While the veggies saute, beat eggs and add a few tablespoons of the mushroom milk to them as you whisk.

When Veggies are tender-crisp, pour egg-milk mixture over them and scramble as for scrambled eggs.  We served ours with some leftover local ham, and it was delish!  This is what it looks like finished.

Closeup of ham and eggs scrambled with wild asparagus, wold onions and morel mushrooms from last year's harvest.
All the savory goodness of traditional ham and eggs with a wildcrafted nutrition boost!

Monstrous Monday: The Monsters of Bone Sliver

It seems to me that it would be silly to do a blog segment on monsters, and leave out the ones in my own books, so today I’ll go over some of the monsters in the first book of The Nova Wave series.

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Bone Sliver is in part an exploration of the word “monster”.    The rest I’ll leave to others to discuss.  At the heart of the series is a massive, world-changing spell.  This alters much of life on earth, and those that survive their transformations must adapt to their new forms.  The remaining humans must adapt to their new world as well, with the added caveat that they must also decide who still counts as “human.”

One character who doesn’t get a lot of room in Bone Sliver, but who is very dear to me is the tree-girl.  She has been transformed in an instant, rooted to the spot, and grown bark for skin.  Most people, seeing her would not think too much about whether she was a tree with human features, or a human turned into a tree.  She can’t speak to tell them, either.  She does have abilities, but those you will have to read about in the books.  Suffice it to say, that Max is the only one that knows the depth of her tragedy at this point.  Is she a monster?

How about a frog-lady or her children?  How about flying sewer barracudas or giant leaping lamprey? The first book has all these and more.

We also see the introduction of a species that the humans come to call weres.  This term, short for werewolf, has come to be used for any human/canine chimeras that survive, regardless of former canine breed.  These guys tend to run in packs, and like their namesakes, they hunt anything (including humans) that they might make a meal of. These weres are not subject to the lunar cycles like true werewolves, nor do they change back into people.  They’re full-on monsters all the time.

These are some of the tamer monsters.

You want a sneak preview of a monster in the upcoming book?

Okay,  In one of the books upcoming (Not telling which) is a tiny, tiny monster that might just be one of the scariest yet.  Actually, there are untold numbers of them, and they’re older than this Nova Wave.  They’re called The Navalha, or “the razors.”  They are probably less than an inch long, covered in razor-sharp chitin, and they move so fast that they’re invisible when they’re in motion.  With a near-human intelligence, they know just where to strike their prey to do the most damage.    An onlooker witnessing a Navalha attack would simply see cuts appearing on the victim for apparently no reason at all.  The person would be dead in minutes.

Why would the Navalha do this?  That can only be answered in the books.

That’s all for this Monstrous Monday, folks.  Also, if you or someone you know is a concept artist, I am in the market for someone to flesh out the characters in the books, for cover art and the like.  Drop me an e-mail at tc_media@hotmail.com if you’re interested.

Until next time,

Be well

~D

 

Fit Friday: Rainy Day Motivation

It can be hard to be motivated when the weather is nasty.  It’s true for spring just as much as winter.  So how can we stay motivated on those days when we really would rather just nap all day? Seeing as this weekend is forecast to be less than spectacular here in Northeast Oklahoma, I thought I’d put together some tips to help us all stay motivated.

  • If you don’t feel like going out, stay in and have a yoga day.  It may not be a full fledged workout, but it’s perfect for a recovery day, and will keep you limbered up.  Plus you won’t lose motivation, thinking you’ve already messed up.  Bonus: do some of the more challenging moves to boost your workout.  Warrior, Plank and Chair pose are all proven burners.
  • Fight the rainy day blahs with lights and upbeat music.  Start with the lighter stuff and move into harder driving music as you get warmed up.  Turn on the big overhead lights if you’re at home.  Sure, it’s a little more electricity, but if it helps keep you from skipping, it’s worth the extra pennies.
  • Promise yourself a fluffy sweater day AFTER you meet your workout goal.  Once you’ve done your workout, take some time to pamper yourself.  There could even be chocolate involved.
  • If you need to, and you’ve worked hard the rest of the week, go ahead and take the whole day to recover. Only do this if you can do it without guilt.  Treat yourself to a spa day at home, and really make relaxation the point of the day.  Make rainy days fun days, and they’ll become up days, instead of down days.

The real trick to conquering rainy day blahs is figuring out what it is about them that makes you feel less than energetic.  Some of us actually have conditions that seem worse when the weather changes.  If you can listen to your body, and your inner voice, it won’t take long for you to conquer anything that’s holding you back.  Even rainy days.

Victor Frankenstein Review

Picture of Blu-Ray cover for Victor Frankenstein
Image permission through EPK.TV

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Of course we know the tale.  As Igor says in the opening scenes of Victor Frankenstein, the monster is more famous than the man.  If you watch this movie thinking it is a regular horror flick, you will likely be disappointed.

Shelley’s classic has always shown a deep philosophical bent.  This new treatment expounds on that and plays up the Gothic atmosphere and the emotional and psychological aspects of the story.  And then there is the casting.

Daniel Radcliffe makes a convincing, if conflicting Igor.  James McAvoy pulls in just enough arrogance and exuberance to make Dr. Frankenstein believable, and Andrew Scott portrays the Ahabesqe inspector Turpin.  Jessica Brown Findlay makes a lovely and lively Lorelai.

While it might not get a full five skulls, it gets four from me for its heavy Gothic leanings and the attention to motive.  It’s a little tame by American horror standards, but it makes up for it in stellar casting and great atmosphere.

After all, it is written by Max Landiss of American Ultra fame, and who happens to be legend John Landiss’ son.  That said, this film, directed by Paul McGuigan, did not set well with the critics at Rotten Tomatoes, and Roger Ebert wasn’t a fan either.

Me?  I like a conflict-ridden, english-actor-packed, gothic-horror-romance.  And, interestingly, if not ironically somebody in the film has two hearts.  (No spoilers here, though.) Not a bad flick for a Monstrous Monday.

Wait…what?  You want to know about the monster?  Well, let’s just say that there was more than one, and that THE monster was definitely larger than life, and almost as tragic as he should have been.

Look for a new Monstrous Monday post next week.  Though they won’t always be film reviews, they will be related to the Gothic Fiction, Film and Television Genres, as well as anything related.  We’ll try to keep it fresh, and with any luck, we’ll find lots of great local stuff for our readers in Oklahoma.

Until then darlings, stay mysterious…

~D

Fitness Friday

Finding the junction of fit and food is the biggest help one can have in the quest for a healthier lifestyle.  Who does one listen to?  Who can one really trust in the miasma of information (some good, and some arguably not-so-good) on the internet?  I’d like to know too, so why not take you along with me?

I’m thinking of doing a regular feature here on the blog that will help folks sort out the real good from the stuff that just wants to sell you crap.  In addition, I am upping my work on the lifestyle book I want to create.  The working title is Scary Good Life.  It might change later, it’s still in the planning and recipe development stage now.  This book is being designed to help the reader build his or her own menu, action routine, and goal schedule, in order to build a lifestyle to keep themselves fit and fulfilled.  The meals will come in right around 400 calories each.  This means that even if one eats four meals a day, they still only take in 1600 calories.  1600 calories is a 400 calorie savings off the standard 2000 calorie diet, and if one only eats three, they save a whopping 800 calories.

The idea is to present meals so satisfying and yummy, that there is no excruciating diet to worry about.  There is no calorie counting, and once the lifestyle is embraced and put into action for a while, the occasional splurge isn’t going to kill your results.

I will be talking with nutritionists and fitness experts (as I am not in any way an expert at the moment) to build the system and bring all of the parts together in a comprehensive manual.

If you would like to weigh in on the project, have recipes or insights to share, or questions about the project, you can drop me a line at tcmedia@hotmail.com I’ll be tickled to hear from you.  Until next time…

Be Well

~D

Wild About Wednesday: Henbit is Blooming in OK!

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If you’ve never tried henbit, this is the month to start.  March is the beginning of Henbit season this year in Oklahoma and the crop is looking lovely this year.  Dead Nettles will be following soon after, and make just as lovely a potherb.

Though they look similar if you only consider the flowers, dead nettle has a distinctly different leaf pattern than henbit.  Dead nettle has pointed leaves that come away from the squared stems, and henbit has scalloped leaves that clasp the stem all the way around.

I have also spotted the wild onions making a break for the spring growth cycle.  The pot that I put my bulblets in last year is full of brand new plants.

Early Buds 2To make life even better this spring, the trees have decided to put on an early show for us.  While some of the ones in town are in full bloom already, these were just swelling.  Getting ready for Oklahoma’s grandest show.  I can’t wait for the show!

If you’re ready for wildcrafting recipes and gifts from these golden woods, stick around.  Next Month starts off wildcrafting in full swing.  I’ll be joining Oklahoma heritage wildcrafter Jackie Dill to learn even more about the wild foods and medicinals that will soon be filling the fields and woods with a bounty most will simply overlook.

I’ll look forward to seeing you then!

Yours ever~

D