Posted in Uncategorized

50 Hours of Happiness

This is just stunning: BBC has released 50 hours of video from Earth II which they’re calling a “visual soundscape” as part of their Real Happiness Project. Nature — even nature video — has been proven to increase happiness, so they’ve put together five 10 hour videos of nature and posted them on YouTube! You can click through to all videos from this Treehugger article and add the videos to your playlists (or create a massive 50 hr playlist)! As the heat of summer increases, actually spending any significant amount of time in nature becomes more difficult—but you can now pour a cold beverage and sink into breathtaking landscapes anywhere you may be. Enjoy!!!

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Posted in For Readers, For Writers

Music — and Video — for Halloween

Halloween Soundscape
Halloween Soundscape

Halloween is just around the corner and I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you of my Halloween Soundscape album, especially since this dark ambient album has a number of tracks inspired by fiction. It’s dark ambient music, suitable background for setting a spooky atmosphere for trick or treaters, a Halloween story reading, or a party (if you want something eerie). It’s a very soundtrack-y album: most of the tracks are inspired by a classic story (Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein, War of The Worlds etc). You can read the liner notes on my Gymshoes music site which gives a bit of background on the project as well as individual tracks. You can “try before you buy” by streaming the album in the sidebar on my Gymshoes Music site. It’s available from iTunes, Amazon mp3, and other online stores.

At the risk of sounding immodest I have to say I really like this album. Every Halloween, I listen to it…and not just Halloween, but to some extent throughout fall as the the days grow shorter and shadows lengthen, as rain falls and wind howls…If you’re reading something scary, you can’t do better than Halloween Soundscape as background music.

I pump it outside on Halloween. I like the way the trick-or-treaters are all wide-eyed as they come up the walk. This is no cheesy sound-effect album, but an album of eerie ambient music. For best effect, listen with the lights out (or low) with headphones on. Want more light? Try it out while doing some Halloween reading this month. 🙂 You should see the way my dogs’ ears twitch as if something unseen and awful is creeping into the living room. 😉

A few year back I used “The Monster Lives”  for a video. I had Frankenstein in mind when I created the track, but after I shot some great octopus footage I thought the title (and music) would work just as well for a “sea monster”. 🙂

If you like Halloween Soundscape, I’d appreciate you passing a link to the album along to your friends and writing a review in your favorite online music store. The “season” for this album is short, so I really do need people who like the album to help me promote it. Thanks! 😀 It’s available from iTunes, Amazon mp3, and other online stores. You can click right through, straight to the album. Enjoy! 😀

Posted in For Writers

Unique Motivation for Writers and other Creative People

I suppose I could just post the video, but I think Marie Brennan’s brief remarks on it and writing are also worth reading so I’m sending you to her blog post: An Invocation For Beginnings. But, oh heck, some people hate posts that send you elsewhere so I guess I’ll just go ahead and embed the video for those of you who are too impatient to read a few incisive paragraphs by a terrific author. (If you like fantasy AND natural history, you must read her ongoing series which begins with The Natural History of Dragons. And if she comes to a bookstore near you, GO! I did.)

Not Safe For Work!

Posted in For Writers

Happy New Year!

For your New Year, here’s a wonderful exuberant video of the final show celebration on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Remember: keep banging on your drum! Happy New Year!

Editorial Note: CBS made the sucky decision to make most of the Craig Ferguson videos — including videos of his last show — “private” shortly after I posted this, scarcely 2 weeks after it was originally uploaded.

Posted in For Writers

NaNoWriMo Prep: 7 Point Story Structure Video Playlist

Yesterday I again roamed barefoot through Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook for inspiration. Today I watched Dan Wells’ on Story Structure again (YouTube playlist embedded below) and compared my rough outline to his points and comments. (It’s becoming an annual pre-NaNo ritual.) If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year and trying to wrangle your ideas into some sort of order before the madness begins, this is a good little overview of story structure. It’s one talk, given at a writers symposium, divided into 5 entertaining ten minute videos. (The intro material is horribly out of date: Dan Wells is probably best known for his Partials young adult series, not to mention The Writing Excuses podcast.) There’s a tiny menu button on the upper left that allows you to play the individual videos if you don’t have time to Play All at one sitting.