Monday, March 18, 2013

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Position Music has become my favorite kind

I LOVE POSITION MUSIC. This is music created by companies like Two Steps from Hell and Brand X exclusively for trailers and commercials. I purchased and downloaded Two Steps from Hell's "Invincible" on a whim because the cover caught my eye one day on Amazon, and it's still one of my all-time favorites. You can listen to this kind of dramatic score and let your imagination go, and to a writer or artist this is especially awesome.

According to the Wikipedia page, Two Steps from Hell was founded in 2006 by Nick Phoenix and Thomas Bergersen, and they have since released three albums: "Invincible" in 2010, and both "Archangel" and "Illusions" in 2011, the latter of which was released under Bergersen's name rather than Two Steps from Hell. 

Future releases:

  • Demon's Dance (2012) [Compilation of unreleased music]
  • Halloween (2012)
  • SkyWorld (2012)
  • Sun (2013) [Thomas Bergersen album]

Jesper Kyd is another composer making grabs for playing time on my headphones. He’s the man behind the soundtracks to all the Assassin's Creed video games and recently released his own album called "Ultimatum," which is very likely my next purchase.

Gabriel Shadid and Thomas Marberger have forged a partnership that composes music under the Epic Score label, of which I own Epic Drama Vol. 1 "Intros & Underscores." At the time of this writing, Epic Score has around 15 releases.

Other companies from who I have yet to purchase, but plan to, are Brand X ("The Best of Brand X Music"), Audiomachine (both "Chronicles" and "Epica"), Jo Blankenburg ("Vendetta" sounds amazing from the Amazon previews and the uplifting "Elysium"), and The Immediate ("Trailerhead" and "Trailerhead: Saga").

Video games are also great resources for this style of music anymore. As mentioned, Jesper Kyd is probably my favorite at the moment, but I recently discovered that "Lord of the Rings" score composer Howard Shore entered the video game music market back in 2006. How did this slip by me for so long? It's called "Soul of the Ultimate Nation (Collector's Edition Vol. 2)" and if you lived the LOTR music, this should serve to tide you over until his "The Hobbit" soundtrack drops.

My to-buy list (in order of preference):

  • Ultimatum (2012) [Jesper Kyd]
  • Vendetta (2011) [Jo Blankenburg]
  • Soul of the Ultimate Nation (2006) [Howard Shore]
  • Elysium (2012) [Jo Blankenburg]
  • Epica (2011) [Audiomachine]
  • Chronicles (2012) [Audiomachine]
  • Assassin's Creed Revelations (2011) [Jesper Kyd]
  • The Best of Brand X Music (2012) [Brand X]
  • Trailerhead: Saga (2010) [The Immediate]
  • Trailerhead (2008) [The Immediate]

Intrigued by (need to preview some more):

  • Unearthed (2003) [E.S. Posthumus]
  • Cartographer: Piri Reis Remixes (2008) [E.S. Posthumus]
  • Rock Hybrid Trailers (2011) [Various; Gothic Storm]
  • Drummers of God - Percussion Trailers (2011) [Various; Gothic Storm]
  • Epic Choral Trailers (2011) [Various; Gothic Storm]

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Eight is Great

Thanks, gents. It’s been the most memorable season I can recall for Kentucky basketball in a long time, and I’m immensely stoked. Great job to all our guys and to Coach Cal. Awesome!


Kudos to Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks, too. Worthy adversaries!


Apologies for the lack of posts this year. I’ll eventually get my act together and revive this site. Promise.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Goodreads Reviews

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy 2012…and a poem

Swiped from The Poke. Their motto? “Time Well Wasted.” Permit me to concur. Also, if you do read this all the way through, I’ll remind you that gunwale is pronounced “gunnel.” Here’s to 2012!



If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud.

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Guess Who’s Coming to Town?

Yeah, that’s right. You know who.

Merry Christmas, y’all. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. 2012’s just around the corner. Don’t be afraid of what those Mayans said. It’s going to be just fine.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

‘What Influences Me’ by Ty Johnston

Ghosts coverFantasy author Ty Johnston’s blog tour 2011 is running from November 1 through November 30. His novels include City of Rogues,Bayne’s Climb and More than Kin, all of which are available for the Kindle, the Nook and online at Smashwords. His latest novel, Ghosts of the Asylum, will be available for e-books on November 21.

To find out more, follow him at his blog:


Whenever fiction writers write about their influences, they almost always refer to literary influences. This is expected to some extent, and makes a certain amount of sense. Writers are influenced by what they have read, by other writers. It’s logical.

Less often will writers talk about other media that have influenced them. Sometimes favorite movies and musicians are mentioned, but not so often as having a direct affect upon a writer or his or her writing.

I’ve yakked ad nauseam at one place or another about my literary influences. Here’s the short list: Stephen King, Alexandre Dumas, Steven Erikson, Robert E. Howard, Hemingway, Capote, Gaiman. Those are just the majors. Plenty of others have affected me and my writing.

But here, today, I’d like to look outside of literature and glance toward movies and music that I feel have affected, possibly infected, my writing.

Concerning cinema, I’d have to say the film The Good, The Bad and The Ugly has been instrumental in my own thoughts about writing and the writing process. Directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cliff, this spaghetti western brings to my mind notions of ancient gods walking the Earth while in the guises of mortal men. The writing here is not extraordinary, and often the dialogue is weak, though sometimes poignant in places as well as comical. It is the directing, Leone’s vision for this film, that truly makes it stand out. Here is epic storytelling at its finest, a trio of ruffians caught up in the middle of a war while trying to steal a shipment of hidden gold.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is another great film that I feel has influenced me. Whenever I think of pulp fiction cinema, I first think of Quentin Tarantino (for obvious reasons), but then comes to mind Indiana Jones and his tales of seeking lost treasures. To my way of thinking,Raiders of the Lost Ark is the perfect pulp movie. The first fifteen minutes alone contains so many tropes from pulp literature and earlier films, it makes this film stand out as the penultimate pulpy story. At least to me.

Jaws I find influential for its excellent building of tension. and The Godfather is a great film for studying characterization.

When it comes to music, my tastes tend toward guitar rock, basically classic rock and some hard rock. Within this mixture can also be found punk, grunge, the various forms of heavy metal, and sometimes softer rock music. These are generally my preferences, though I’m not above falling for some pop music and other tunes.

Since I grew up in the 1970s and became a teen in the 1980s, and because my literary tastes fall toward the fantastic, it should be no surprise Led Zeppelin has influenced my writing, sometimes directly. A short story of mine is even titled “Deep in the Land of the Ice and Snow,” which is almost exactly a line taken from Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”

Other musical influences have been Soundgarden, Rage Against the Machine, and Counting Crows. Lesser influences have been The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Doors.

I get a lot of short story ideas from music. I’ll hear a line from a song, or sometimes what I think is a line from a song, and it’ll take me off into story land where I come up with a plot. Other times, I’ll listen to a song and imagine what a particular character of mine would think about it; this, too, has given me plenty of story ideas.

All forms of media influence us, sometimes even when we don’t want them to. But it can’t be helped. We’re human, after all, and we soak up our environments to some extent or another. As a writer, I try to direct my influences, hopefully for the benefit of the readers, who are the final judges.