Music Monday: Ghost’s “If You Have Ghosts”

This is a song I’ve been wanting to share for weeks now. I’ve hesitated though, because unlike everything else I’ve posted, where if you like what you hear, you feel free to start listening to the band/singer’s catalogue with abandon, Ghost comes with a bit of a warning: if you’re easily offended, you may not want to listen to their original work, even though the music is fantastic.

What type of offended? Well, you know those bands that sing nothing but Christian contemporary music and it’s all devoted to God and Jesus and the worship and praise? Well, throw in some metal, and replace God and Jesus with the Devil, and you’ve got Ghost.

No, I’m not kidding.

I’ve seen them perform in concert twice now. The second concert was fantastic, and it didn’t hurt that I was more familiar with their material than I was the first time. But what made it so great was the pure spectacle and show: there’s so much charisma during the performance, especially that of the lead singer, that I alternate between thinking what that they REALLY believe what they’re singing about versus it’s just a gimmick that they’re REALLY dedicated to. Then again, they’re from Sweden, so it may very well be the former.

Toward the end of that second concert, after all of their original work, so much of which has fantastic melodies and haunting chords, they performed a cover by Roky Erickson: “If You Have Ghosts.” And it was gorgeous.

You don’t have to worry about your soul if you listen to this cover: this cover absolutely has nothing to do with the band’s beliefs and everything to do, I suspect, with the delightful use of being able to sing their own band’s name in a rather ironic way. And if you like what you hear, and you’re not easily offended and appreciate great music despite the lyrics, try giving “Cirice” a try, and if you really feel like having a laugh and want to hear a song deliberately styled as a contemporary Christian ballad, try listening to “He Is.”

But for now, if you just want to hear what the band sounds like, and if you want to hear an amazing cover song, listen to “If You Have Ghosts” and tell me what you think.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Sound off below!

Reminder: Music Monday is about the music, not the videos. Videos are just the medium I’m using to share the music, and some videos aren’t actually videos at all. Enjoy the songs, but if YouTube forces you to watch some sort of advertisement before you can get to the music, please be patient.

Winners: Matthew S. Rotundo Giveaway!

So as usual, the winners tend to creep up on me, and I forget to make the announcement until the end of the day. But the giveaway did encourage six people to draw their hats in the ring, which means we had one winner. I’ve emailed both Matthew S. Rotundo and that winner, and I’m letting that winner work out the details for her prize!

Thank you to all who entered, and all who spread the word! Matthew wrote quite the ripping yarn, so whether or not you won, I hope you get a chance to give his fiction a shot!

For those of you who didn’t win, and those of you who did, have you caught Part One of Aubrey Gross’ interview with me yet? She hasn’t promised a giveaway or a scavenger hunt, not yet, but I bet if we show her a lot of support, she might be willing to give away a free book or two! Just click here to start with Part One: Hard to Swallow (yes, Aubrey totally approved that title), and come back next Tuesday for Part Two: Triumphs and Taking Risks!

Hard to Swallow with Aubrey Gross

unnamedAubrey’s been reading and writing since she was about two and a half, and has been a storyteller for as long as she can remember. Early on, she discovered a love of romance, reading her first Harlequin somewhere around age twelve (it featured an F1 race car driver, as this was long before NASCAR was cool). She wrote her first romance novel in high school. It was admittedly not very good, but she wrote another, and another. She thinks those first few might still be on a floppy disk somewhere in a storage bin.

Aubrey eventually honed her writing abilities through undergrad creative writing courses and eventually graduate school, where she earned a Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. These days she writes books she likes to describe as “stories about broken people healing, finding love, and laughing a little bit, too.”

Editor’s Note: this is part one of a three-part interview. Parts two and three will be published September 13th and September 20th, respectively. Also, this interview was originally conducted in March through August of 2016.

***

Now, to get started, I ask all of my interviewees the same starting question, and that’s this: how do we know each other?

We go way back to our freshman year of college at Hollins University. We were in the same creative writing class our first semester, and a small group of us just kind of gelled and nicknamed ourselves The Merry Bandits. We’ve been brain twins ever since. 😉

Brain-Twins FTW!!!! Hollins was and is known for their creative writing program. Given you’re from Texas, why did that inspire you to travel so far?

Continue reading

Music Monday: Muse’s “Madness”

Happy Labor Day! Today’s Music Monday takes the letter M to the fourth power: Muse’s “Madness.”

I’ve been a big fan of Muse, and one of my most favorite albums is Blackholes and Revelations, which I have listened to WAY too many times. However, their newer stuff doesn’t quite stick with me. So why is today’s Music Monday devoted to a song off one of their recent albums? Because this song is AMAZING. It has the kind of groove that lets you put it on repeat and it just feels like it’s supposed to be played over and over (or is it just me?), and it just builds in a fantastically minimalistic fashion. You get this fun, groovy little chorus, and then before you realize it, it’s built into something so much bigger that it explodes into a climax that would make U2’s The Joshua Tree album proud. It’s such a profound change from the beginning that when it settles right back into the ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-mad-mad-madness, you have to hear it again because it just wasn’t enough.

Take a listen (and a look, this video is dystopianly impressive), and tell me I’m wrong.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Sound off below!

Reminder: Music Monday is about the music, not the videos. Videos are just the medium I’m using to share the music, and some videos aren’t actually videos at all. Enjoy the songs, but if YouTube forces you to watch some sort of advertisement before you can get to the music, please be patient.

Scavenger Hunt Turned Giveaway

So that’s embarassing: either all of you who read Matthew S. Rotundo’s interview already had e-copies of both books, or you just didn’t not feel like looking up the answers to the Scavenger Hunt. Whatever the reason, NO ONE entered the Scavenger Hunt. Matt still would like to give one book away, however, so we’re opening it up to anyone and everyone: no strings attached!

CLICK HERE: Giveaway for PETRA or PETRA RELEASED

Blurb for Book One: Petra:

Welcome to Petra.

It is the ultimate prison. Inmates from all of Ported Space are dumped there, forgotten, and left to survive however they can. Hope dies. Escape is impossible.

Disillusioned war hero Kane Pythen comes to Petra on a fact-finding mission, but gets caught in an uprising that threatens to expose a shattering secret. And Rolf Ankledge, Petra’s ruthless warden, will stop at nothing to keep it from reaching Ported Space. If Kane involves himself, he risks losing everything he has. If he does nothing, he betrays the last shreds of his ideals.

The prison break of the millennium is on. Now Kane must race against time and vicious forces from all over Petra if he ever wants to see his wife and daughter again.

If I receive 10 entries or less: ONE winner receives an e-copy of either Petra or Petra Released.

If I receive 20 entries: TWO winners receive their choice of either Petra or Petra Released, e-copy.

If I receive 30 or more entries? I’ll talk to Matthew to see if he’s willing to up the number of winners.😉

You have until Tuesday, September 6th to enter, and the winner(s) will be notified by email on Wednesday, September 7th.

One entry per person, no purchase necessary, void where prohibited, all entrants’ information will be deleted once winners have been confirmed, etc. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your entry came through, please comment here to ask.

Please enter, or encourage your friends who enjoy a rollicking space opera adventure to enter! You can’t miss with free books!

Music Monday: Karliene’s “Become The Beast”

Today’s pick is a unique beast. It’s a fan song. And of course, it’s for Hannibal. Because if you’ve followed this blog for any time in the past four years, you’re probably wondering why I HAVEN’T yet devoted a Music Monday to Hannibal.

I discovered Karliene‘s “Become the Beast” last year. When I first listened to it, I didn’t like it as well as Halia Meguid’s “Ravenstag.” But I downloaded it from iTunes anyway (because my Hannibal love knows no bounds), and I quickly fell in love. It’s often a go-to song when I’m driving my super-short commute to and from work, and I don’t want to think about what I’m going to listen to. What’s great about “Become The Beast,” in addition to its addictive and haunting melody, the lyrics have no spoilers and they’re fantastic to boot. You don’t have to know a thing about the show to enjoy the song, and while I was thinking about this week’s pick, especially in light of the trend that’s been going on this month, I figured this had to be next.

What’s more is Karliene does cover songs and original fan songs for all kinds of fandoms: The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Labyrinth, The Hunger Games…. you name it. She’s got a ton of interesting material to listen to and purchase, and every time I visit her page on Soundcloud or iTunes, I’m tempted to pick up yet another song or album.

But for now, I’m happy listening to “Become the Beast,” and if you’ve enjoyed any of my recent picks, I think you will too.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Sound off below!

Reminder: Music Monday is about the music, not the videos. Videos are just the medium I’m using to share the music, and some videos aren’t actually videos at all. Enjoy the songs, but if YouTube forces you to watch some sort of advertisement before you can get to the music, please be patient.

Scavenger Hunt with Matthew S. Rotundo

It’s that time again! Matthew S. Rotundo has graciously agreed to do a Scavenger Hunt! If his interview has piqued your interest in his space opera series, then line right up: I’ll tell you how you can win an e-book of either Petra (book one) or Petra Released (book two).

Unlike the Scavenger Hunts that we did for Maria V. Snyder and J.L. Gribble, I’m re-doing the structure in order to 1) encourage more entries and 2) make it reasonable for the author to provide copies. What does that mean?

If I receive 10 entries or less: ONE winner receives an e-copy of either Petra or Petra Released.

If I receive 20 entries: TWO winners receive their choice of either Petra or Petra Released, e-copy.

If I receive 30 or more entries? I’ll talk to Matthew to see if he’s willing to up the number of winners. 😉

So, not only should you ENTER, but it benefits you to signal boost the Scavenger Hunt, because the more people who enter, the more chances you’ll have to win (so long as you provide the right answers, of course).

Ready?

Question #1: (from Taking Off Like a Rocket): Name one convention Matthew has attended this year that’s mentioned in the interview.

Question #2: (from Politics in Fiction): What inspired Matthew to write a science fiction novel that takes place on a prison planet?

Question #3: (from The Heart in Conflict): Besides himself, who does Matthew feel is criminally under-read?

Just click the link below to go to the entry form (at Google Drive) and fill out each question. Each person answering all three questions correctly will be placed on a list for a random drawing.

You have until Tuesday, August 30th to enter, and the winners will be notified by email on Wednesday, August 31st.

One entry per person, no purchase necessary, void where prohibited, all entrants’ information will be deleted once winners have been confirmed, etc. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your entry came through, please comment here to ask.

To enter, please click below and fill out the form. May the odds be ever in your favor!

ENTER: Scavenger Hunt with Matthew S. Rotundo

Music Monday: The Civil Wars’ “Barton Hollow”

So I stumbled on this song quite by accident, but I’ve had it on repeat ever since. See, I use my iPhone’s Bluetooth to play my iTunes music through my Sync system in my car. There are quirks, one of which is if I happen to close out iTunes on my iPhone, then the next time I drive, Sync just picks something somewhat at random. And on Monday, it picked “Barton Hollow” by The Civil Wars.

I almost skipped it in favor of another song/album I’m used to hearing, but then I said, “Eh, why not?”

This song…. it just sticks in your head, and I think what really does it for me is the tension in the harmonies. It probably doesn’t hurt either that I’m rewatching Justified with my husband and my in-laws, and this song just absolutely belongs on that show.

So yes, “Barton Hollow” is a little more folksy, a little more bluegrass than I usually listen to, but oh, it’s an earworm.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Sound off below!

Reminder: Music Monday is about the music, not the videos. Videos are just the medium I’m using to share the music, and some videos aren’t actually videos at all. Enjoy the songs, but if YouTube forces you to watch some sort of advertisement before you can get to the music, please be patient.

Speculative Chic Round Up: Week 3

ancillary-mercy-by-ann-leckie-500x750Greetings, and welcome to week three of shameless self-promotion! Our third week at Speculative Chic  was SUPER BUSY, with three days in a row with two posts instead of one. Why all the craziness? Well, we wanted to get our Hugo Reading project wrapped up before the rockets were handed out on Saturday night (and to that affect, CONGRATS to N.K. Jemisin for her Best Novel win!), and I have to say, it’s been a joy to see all these different bloggers reviewing in one place! But we did MORE than just book reviews, so let’s break it down:

Monday, as usual, was another round of My Favorite Things. Nancy discussed Star Trek Collectibles, Bingeable Books, Animate Cat Rosebushes and Power Armor with Sherry, Lane, Keyes, and Whitney.

Then on Tuesday, Tez managed to nab all kinds of eyeballs with The Culling: Clearing the Clutter of Unwanted Books. We promise: no books were harmed in the making of this post!

Wednesday brought our very first day of duel posts. First, Betsy sat down to review the Nebula-winning and Hugo-nominated Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Then yours truly introduced the Orphan Black Rewatch, which starts in September. Whether you’re watching for the first time or the twentieth, we’d love to have you aboard!

jim-butcher-aeronauts-windlass-cover-530x800Thursday had Nu reminiscing about the past ten years of her writing career and the events that jump-started her path to publication. Then Sharon came by and explained how Jim Butcher finally helped her see the Steampunk light in her review of The Aeronaut’s Windlass.

Finally, on Friday, we learned from Coach Sherry that too much feedback CAN be a bad thing, and then Janicu wrapped up our Hugo reading project with her review of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy. Spoiler alert: it’s a very satisfying end to an awesome trilogy.

What’s on the agenda next week? My Favorite Things returns, of course, and then we’ll discuss portrayals of teens in the apocalypse, debate the pros and cons of Suicide Squad, talk about why Squirrel Girl should be your new favorite superhero, celebrate the return of Harry Potter, and then, if we’re LUCKY, we might gather around the campfire to whisper about Stranger Things.

Won’t you join us?

tatiana-maslany-orphan-black-instagram-photos-71615-lead

The Heart in Conflict with Matthew S. Rotundo

Signing at VromansWelcome to third and final installment of Calico In Conversation with Matthew S. Rotundo. If you missed Parts One and Two, click below to catch up:

Part One: Taking Off Like a Rocket
Part Two: Politics in Fiction

Editor’s Note: this interview was originally conducted in March through July of 2016.

***

What else do you have noodling around in that brain of yours? Petra Released came out the end of July, and Book #3 is inevitable. Once you’re done with this story arc, what else do you hope to dig into? Other science fiction ideas? Fantasy? Noir?

Oh, you want to be careful about looking into my brain.  🙂  But since you asked . . .

Let’s see. Post-Petra, I have a few other projects that will need my attention. I’ve written an urban fantasy novel that’s first part of another series. I’d like to take a crack at the second book. There’s also a near future post-apocalypse novel that probably needs another rewrite. And then there’s this novelette I wrote, a story I dearly love that is — get this — middle grade fantasy . . . and which might be the start of yet another series.

See what happens when you peek inside my mind? It’s a mess in there. I warned you.

You’re writing science fiction, but it’s clear you’ve got lots of other ideas and genres percolating in that brain of yours. Would you talk about your influences as a writer?

Continue reading