June 1st 2018

I’ve not done any writing today. I wasn’t planning on doing too much to be honest but I did do a little pimping for the announcement of The Ginger Nuts of Horror summer series, Alice in Summerland.

This series looks at the career of the one and only Alice Cooper, and I am one of the contributors. I am very much looking forward to reading this look at one of the iconic musicians of the last few decades.

Please click the link and have a look at what you’re in line for. The line up of contributors for Alice In Summerland is pretty epic! I’m proud to be part of that line up.

Rest In Peace Chester Bennington

I think if I hadn’t of been sitting when the news first broke that Chester Bennington had died I think I would have had to sit down. I always think of myself as someone who isn’t musical. It’s always just been something that I never thought I got, and I didn’t realise till the last few days how wrong I have been on this. It’s all thanks to Linkin Park, in particular their song, In The End.

I’d been listening to Meat Loaf, Alice Cooper, and Bon Jovi mainly. I went through a period of listening to Eminem and Dr.Dre but I never really understood where Eminem and Dre were coming from. With the rock stuff I kind of thought I got it. Bon Jovi’s album, Crush, had somewhat of an effect on me, particularly the song, It’s My Life, but I still didn’t get what people meant by music having an emotional effect on them, then I heard In The End and that was it. I’m a sucker for powerful vocals, and Chester Bennington had an amazing voice. When you combine that with the lyrics to In The End it got me, it embedded itself into my DNA. I flicked through the music channels hoping to catch more of In The End and other music by this band. I remember the day I brought the album and popping it into my portable CD player and listening to it. I hadn’t looked at the CD jacket to see where In The End was listed so I hoped each song was that one that had hooked me but also being blown away by how each song spoke to me, making me realise things about myself that I hadn’t ever thought about.

Hybrid Theory was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. Then Meteora came out, and they did it again! those first two albums opened my sheltered mind up to a world I never knew existed.

I’d heard people saying that songs spoke to them, that music expressed their emotions but I’d never felt that, until Hybrid Theory and Meteroa. These two albums felt like they were written for me, and for me alone. What the songs were about was how I felt and I didn’t really understand that others felt that way as well.

Around the time when Minutes to Midnight came out I was drifting out of music for reasons I can’t remember or even know to be honest. It’s taken Chester Bennington dying to make me realise how importing Linkin Park have been to me, I wished i’d realised it without his loss.

A lot of loved and influential people have died over the last couple of years. People I had a lot of respect for, a lot of affection, but Chester was an Icon for me. His voice is that of a whole generation of people, and that has been reflected in the love I’ve seen for him over the last few days. I’ve been listening to Linkin Park every time I’ve sat at a computer to write since the news broke. I’ve loaded my cars CD changer with Linkin Park. I can’t listen to In The End without choking up a little. I don’t know If I’ve mentioned in blog posts about how out of date with music that I am, but Chester’s death has come at a time when I’m rediscovering my taste for music. I’ve been listening to a lot of Lacuna Coil, Lesbian Bed Death, and In This Moment. I’ve started buying music again, and it’s been in the back of my mind that I’d needed to go back to Linkin Park and listen to their albums in my collection again and start buying the ones I haven’t got. I’d drifted away from them a little when I drifted from music. I’m going to correct that and get their albums I haven’t got. If it wasn’t for Linkin Park I wouldn’t listen to three quarters of the music that I do.

There are five other members of Linkin Park, and I don’t want to take away from them how important they are as well. It always felt like Linkin Park are a band where everything came together and it’s just worked. I am out of date, and I don’t tend to follow gossip pages etc. but as far as I know there’s not been a lineup change since Hybrid Theory came out, or massive problems within the band. If there has been they’ve done well keeping it in house. Chester’s voice though, that brought the words that I, and millions of people across the world, understood. Those five men, Mike Shinoda, Joe Hahn, Rob Bourdon, Brad Delson, and Dave ‘Phoenix’ Farrell have lost a brother. My thoughts go out to them, and Chester’s family and friends. I can’t imagine what they are going through at the moment but I hope all the messages of love and support they must be receiving can help them, even if it just a little.

We don’t know what people are going through behind the closed doors of their mind. If someone is reading this post and struggling with life, please talk to someone. Find the helplines in your country, speak to a doctor, talk to friends, family. Write it all in a blog post if you want, but talk. It’s amazing how much just talking can help.

I’m going to end this post by saying thank you, Chester. Linkin Park are one of the biggest influences in my life, and you were such a huge part of that.

Rest In Peace Chester Charles Bennington (March 20th, 1976 – July 20th, 2017).

A Quick Update

I know I said I wasn’t going to update here daily about my attempt to work for one hour a day no matter what on my writing but seeing as today was the first day I’ve tried it I just thought I’ll let y’all know how it went. It went quite well, I managed to get twelve chapters of Earth, After Liberation read through in an hour and fifteen minutes, which I’m quite chuffed about. During that time I did pause the timer and grabbed a drink or replied to a comment on Facebook and then just stated the timer again and got going once more. I didn’t have the TV on or any music or the radio on in the back round, I literally just cracked on which proved to be very productive, not only in getting a lot of pages worked through but I’ve figured out how to make Earth, After Liberation work a lot better. I’m going to have to cut a lot, re-write a lot more and add even more but I can see quite clearly in my head how it needs to be structured.

Now though, I’m going to play some Xbox and chill out as I’m back at work tomorrow but I’ll be making sure I get my hour in no matter what. As I’m reading through Earth, After Liberation on screen I’ll probably get the hour made up in the evening but once I’ve done this read though and I have a paper copy printed I’ll be able to be a little more flexible with when I’m working on it ūüôā

Flash Post: Playlists

I hear a lot about writers burning playlists for when their writing and writing to music is something that can be very helpful but so far I’ve only really written to the albums i have and not cut any playlists for specific moods; mainly because I haven’t found the time to transfer my favourite albums and songs over to my iMac from my CDs. Once I’ve got this vampier collection done and off to Beta readers then I’ll spend an evening or two loading some up ūüôā

Making The Right Playlist

Something that I’ve heard a lot of writers talk about, is writing a scene with a specific album or playlist in the background and although I’ve had music playing when I’ve been writing I’ve never felt that it affected my mood enough to be shown in my writing, until I was writing a short story for my vampire series and my iTunes library was on shuffle, and it settled on Alone I Break by Korn and it fitted what the story’s protagonist was going through; so I went to the start of the album, their greatest hits, and it did make quite a noticeable difference. While I was listening to it the character was going through a life changing period and the intensity of Korn’s music just seems to sink in and add to the dramatic events I was putting the character through.

When I get a minute I’m going to load up a few more albums and selected songs from my cd collection and sort of some playlists for different emotional states and use them as I’m writing. As I’m going to be editing in the next couple of days I’ll just through a cd into the mini player and have it as background noise.

Movie Monday: High Fidelity

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High Fidelity tells teh story of a record store owner, Rob Gordon(John Cusack), who after a breakup is trying to figure out why he keeps ending up single.  So he tracks down the five most important ex-gilrfriends he had.  The results differ.  As he is doing this he contends with his record store, the customers and his two employees, Barry(Jack Black) and Dick (Todd Louiso).

The film moves along at quite a nice pace and the humour is very well spread through the film.¬† John Cusack is really good here and even when he’s talking to the audience it works very well. Sometimes when this is done in movies it really is not good, but here it fits the movie very well.¬† Iben Hjejle is good as Rob’s Ex-Girlfriend Laura and Black and Louiso are a brilliant paring and bounce off each other incredibly well.¬† Theres also a small role for Tim Robbins and a small cameo for Bruse Springsteen.¬†Music plays a avery big part of this movie.¬† Conversastion in the film tend to feature a lot about music and the effect it has on the main characters.

This film is based on the book by Nick Hornby of the same name, which I have put off reading for years because I do really love this movie.¬† It’s easy to watch and there is a feel good factor to it too. And in my experience movies rarely ever match up to the book that they are based on.¬† I think the best way to describe it is a Rom-Com for men.

 

Wireless Festival 2012 @ Hyde Park

Yesterday I was at the Wireless music festival in Hyde Park London.¬† This is the third year that I have been to Wireless and I have to say I think this year was the best that I have been to.¬† The last two years I have gone with my friend Carla, but this year we were joined by Carla’s friend Sherry and my Girlfriend Tracie.¬† The previous two years me and Carla were right at the front squashed in which was fun but this year me and Tracie were off to one side and for me it was a much more enjoyable experience.¬† It was nice having some space and let the music take centre stage.¬† Speaking of music I guess I should talk about that a little lol.

Example was by and far the best act for me.¬† I remember seeing him the first year that I went and he really impressed me with his stage¬†presence on stage and he’s talent and he has now clearly upped his game as he was even better yesterday then he was two years ago.¬† He came on and¬†the crowd gave him a truly warm and enthusiastic welcome and he repaid us with a damn good show.¬† I am not¬†a huge music person so I have not seen lots of acts or been to many festivals or concerts but Example has got to be the best act that I have seen.¬† I like his music and him a lot.¬† Example was worth the admission alone.

My Girlfriend loved Professor Green, she is a big fan of his anyway but she danced away to his entire set like only true fans can do.¬† I like his music but no to the extent that I’d say that I am a fan but he was very good and held the crowd well.¬† For Tracie he was worth the admission alone.

Rita Ora has only recently come to my attention but her song R.I.P is one of the best songs I’ve heard in its genre.¬† It has a great pace to it which really gets the blood pumping and she looked like she loved being out on that stage.

For us the day was pretty epic.¬† The weather treated us well with only a little rain, the acts generally were very good with the three listed performers above the best of the pick although we did not stay to see out Nicki Minaj’s set and missed Drakes complete set.¬† We’ve already made plans to go again next year ūüôā

 

Finding Insperation And What Influences Our Creativity

For my birthday my girlfriend got me a number of DVDs most of which are best described as gritty British Gangster/Football Hooligan films, so I have spent the week watching theses¬†films and they have got me thinking about how I am writing my own fiction. I guess this comes under ‘How the world around us influences our work’ but this doesnt¬†mean that I am going to write a story set in one of these worlds. I don’t¬†have that deep knowledge of these worlds but it gave me some good little ideas about dialogue, character building and the look and feel of a story. These Films are Green Street, Snatch, Rise Of The Footsoldier and The Football Factory. Throw in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels then you have some half¬†decent films that look at a world in which series people operate and although some of it is rather humorous at times these are very powerful films.
Movies generally give me plenty of places to find. Avatar gave me more ideas than¬†I could share here and the beginning of the film 127 hours have me an idea involving a wind turbine. So it’s not just the sci-fi films that spark an idea. For me I think it’s a case of seeing something that triggers an image in my head that I can then write a story around, or a scene at least, around what has sparked the idea.

I’ve talked about how some of the¬†music that I listened¬†to in my younger days has had a lasting effect on me and my writing so I’ll spare you from repeating myself, but it’s mainly¬†an effect of liking¬†the things that may be hiding in the shadows, the unknown world which is created by our imagination.¬†¬†¬†¬†Two¬†songs that truly inspires me to write¬†are Birthright by Celldweller and Written In The Stars by Tinie Temper.¬† Both these songs make me want to write every time I hear them.

Obviously books are quite a strong source of inspiration¬†for me.¬† Scott Sigler is a very big influence as is Dan Abnett and Joe Haldeman, but the writer that really hooked me with their novels and got me reading was Tom Clancy,Rainbow SixandWithout Remorseare two of his books that I am especially fond of.¬† As someone in my late teens and early twenties who had never really¬†read anything I was blown away by what Clancy wrote and I pretty much read just his work for a good three or four years.¬† I suppose this is why Project Phoenix is quite heavily military because that’s what I was reading at the time of starting the novel.¬† Going back to Sigler¬†for a moment though I’d just like to say that he properly inspires me to because¬†he had to work very hard to get where he is today and I think he is a great example to anyone that has a dream that they are chasing.

I try to take something from all the¬†movies and books and music and television¬†shows that I watch and also the odd video game that I play.¬† It’s hard for me to pin down just¬†how all these different mediums influence and inspire my writing but I think that each and every one of these does in different ways.

What inspires you?  How does the world around you influence how you write?

An Interview With My Writing Partner, Owen M.G. Arnold

Okay everybody I have a real treat for you tonight, I have managed to get Owen to sit down and answer a few questions.¬† I’ve wanted to get this done for a while as Owen and I do work together on¬†a number of projects and he is mentioned here often as well.¬† So I wanted you all to get an idea of what type of person he is (and to see what I have to put up with)

So with no more beating about the bush let’s get this rolling!

First of all can you tell us about yourself? 

I have got ginger hair, I’m indo-european in origin.
What makes you want to write?

The enjoyment of actually writing and the creation of the actual new worlds and experiences that the characters in the stories encounter.
What is your favourite book(s)?

The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, The Earthsea trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin, Thud by Terry Pratchett, The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke, Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein.
Who Is your favourite writer(s)?

All of the above.

How annoying am I(Me, Peter Germany) to work with?

A little less annoying than I am for you to work with me.
Who is your biggest influence?

My biggest influences would have to be the writers I’ve already mentioned, but also the classical literature that I have read.¬† Working Days by Hesiod for example and Homer (not Simpson)

What is your dream?

I would be happy if the people who read my work enjoy it as much as i enjoy creating it.
How do you prefer to write? pen and paper or straight onto a computer?

Either, it depends how I feel.
Where do you write?

Mainly in my room at home.
Do you find your environment a factor when you write?

Yes, I like to write where I wont get disturbed.

Do you ever read this blog?

Yes, but at gun point (He’s joking people-Peter)
When you eat do you prefer to chew with the left side of your mouth or the right side?

Whatever side the food is on (Owen is in fits of laughter at that one – Peter )
What is your favourite TV show(s)?

American Dad and Family Guy, as well as Dr.Who and Red Dwarf.

Your favourite movie(s)?

None in particular.
What sort of music do you like?

The Doors, Cream, and other music of that genre and era.
Do you write whilst listening to music or do you prefer to be in silence?

It depends on the mood I’m in.
If you were stuck on a desert island who would you like to be stuck with?

The Woman of my dreams (I’m not going to dare ask a follow-up question to that one!-Peter)
If you were stuck on a desert island alone what three items would you want to have with you?

A boat, an engine and enough fuel to get me to the mainland
How annoying are people who never text, call or email back?

According to Peter its very annoying

Is there anything that I havent asked that you would like to discuss?

Not really, I can’t think of anything else that I can think of at this time.

Well thank you Owen, I’m pleased that you havent filled my blog with your normal filth which normally comes out of your mouth (you’ve all had a lucky escape! lol)

Have you enjoyed this interview?

Yes, and thank you for interviewing me, without using the thumbscrews (no idea what he’s on about – Peter)

Okay everyone I hope that¬†you have¬†enjoyed this as much as we did.¬† Owen was a little reserved which is rather unusual for him but I hope this has given you an insight into who Owen is.¬† This is only a taster of who Owen really is, inside his head he has some amazing ideas and when he starts talking about them he quite almost passes out because he’s mouth can’t¬†keep up with the information¬†leaving his brain and he forgets to breath!¬† Aside from the annoying fact that he NEVER replies to texts, emails or phone calls Owen is a great mind and if it was not for him I would not be a writer today.¬† As individuals and as writing partners we are only going to get stronger in our art.

What Is Happening To The Specialist Shop?

I’ve just had a text off of a good friend of mine saying that he’s heard a rumour that both Gamestation¬†and Game over here in the UK are about to close down.¬† Add to that the continuing rumours that HMV¬†are also on rocky ground ( I think that Waterstones¬†are part of HMV¬†as well) then I find myself thinking ‘Where am I going to buy Games, DVD’s and music from?’¬† I know some of you will be saying ‘Err online you retard.’¬† Which is all good and well, if you know what you want.¬† I love going into HMV¬†or Waterstones¬†and just looking at the selections and trying to find that hidden gem.¬† I would never have read Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War had it not been for a random look in Waterstones¬†one day.¬† Yes, the internet is a great thing and there are lots of bargains¬†on there but does it have to be at the cost of these High Street shops?¬† Maybe their demise will give birth to more independent shops but with the savings that the internet gives are they going to survive?