Soundscapes and Screams

Some authors prefer silence while creating, others are fueled by melodies that play like the ghostly hands of a muse… In celebration of his new book, Screams the Machine, Sam Mortimer talks about music and how it plays a role in his work as a writer.

Soundscapes and Screams

Sam Mortimer

Every writer is different and has a method of transferring their unique world to page.  Music acts like a transistor in select writers’ stories, modulating the tale’s energy and revealing new angles. It’s interesting to see which bands and artists haunt a writer’s playlist. For instance, I learned about The Raveonettes, “Love in the Trashcan” from Stephen King’s playlist on Itunes years ago. Music connects like the cat’s meow, and right songs enhance the writing process, which hopefully creates an unforgettable reader’s experience. 

Sound or lack thereof, played an integral part in Screams The Machine. Even though music practically hums in my bones, during the first draft, the room stayed as silent as possible.  T’was a rather isolative feeling, but doing so helped preserve the story’s initial soundscape. Nothing interfered with the frequency, if you will. Even the fiction world’s imagery stayed pure and raw in my head, which hopefully allowed me to write better! Also, I wanted to ‘hear’ the breaths of the characters, their voices, and the ambience of the Screams The Machine’s dystopian world. As the story moved forward, an original soundtrack began writing itself in my head. If for some serendipitous reason Screams The Machine lands a movie deal, I’d love to compose a song or two that burned in my mind while writing the novella.

The second draft is where the party began, and least that was the case in Screams The Machine, when writing and music became starry-eyed companions. New energy bounced in and sound’s influence morphed aspects of the tale, hopefully revealing some depth to the world and its characters. Music works in mysterious ways I’d imagine for many writers.

The ambient band Stars of the Lid carried a hefty influence on a majority of Screams The Machine’s second and third drafts, especially during the protagonist’s, Randal Markins, phantasmagoric withdrawal from The All.  Stars of the Lid produce dreamy, intense sounds that give a celestial sensation; they know how to create a potent atmosphere, and that was precisely what Screams The Machine required.  

Randal’s trials and tribulations felt entirely focused while I listened to Stars of the Lid. His pain became clarified in my mind, almost real, and hopefully the reader can experience the same thing. His withdrawal from a presence called The All might’ve been entirely different if Stars of the Lid weren’t in the background.  If you’ve watched Twin Peaks, you’ve likely heard their music.

When Stars of the Lid didn’t play, droning deep-sleep inducing music was moving some particles in the air. Only I didn’t sleep much (still don’t) so the music never put me under—instead, I basically fell into a trance. The experience was gravely interesting, resulting in some of the prose you’ll read in Screams The Machine.

Next book you dig into, consider the soundscape. What surrounded the author as they wrote some of your favorite scenes? Were they jamming to The Rolling Stones, Nine Inch Nails, Even the Slept or Falls Lake? Maybe Tycho?

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Synopsis

Cash carries a disease; one that’s already killed a large majority of the population and something needs to be done. To stop the crisis from escalating, The Solution (a worldwide organization) is formed and rises to great power. They monitor people’s dreams and shape reality to fit their own wants and needs. In an effort to control existence itself, The Solution is searching for what they believe to be the ultimate tool; a person with the ability to master a deep connection with the mysterious, pervasive energy known only as The Ultimate Reality.

Watching her neighborhood decay, her friends and family perish, Elizabeth Reznik needs to find meaning in her life. She discovers her existence is more meaningful than she could ever have imagined. Operatives of The Solution seek her out, take her from her home and perform brutal experiments on her. Their conclusion? Elizabeth is the one they have been searching for; she is the key to gaining complete power.

The stratagem of The Solution is single minded – own the resources and you own the people. And the last resource available is free will. They will own your thoughts, they will orchestrate your dreams; they will dine on your fears. But there is always a cog in the machine… or in this case, a scream.

Available on:

Amazon:

US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | Brazil | India | The Netherlands

Amazon Print: US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | Brazil | India | The Netherlands

iTunes | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | CreateSpace (Print)

 

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Author Bio:

Sam Mortimer has worked the graveyard shift in law enforcement, attended film school, and has been writing strange stories since age eleven. He loves reading, music, and strives to meet the demands of his five cats.

A Walk with Grace – Pen of the Damned

This week on Pen of the Damned, read my latest story, A Walk with Grace.

Follow Pen of the Damned on Twitter @penofthedamned And like us on Facebook

Pen of the Damned is a collection of dark tales told by those who freely dive into the maw of damnation and live to tell their stories. Every Tuesday a new story is posted to the site by one of its handful of eclectic writers. And once or twice a cycle, the members write their interpretation of a photo prompt as a group post. The stories are short and not so sweet, with a lingering aftertaste of terror.

If you haven’t checked out the site I dare you to take a look into the pitch black, if only to see if you can find the light again.

www.penofthedamned.com

More on Pen of the Damned:

Like a Puppet by Jon Olson

The Within by Mark Steinwachs

Tiny Cages by Veronica Magenta Nero

Know Not the Dark by Joseph A. Pinto

Like a Puppet – Pen of the Damned

This week on Pen of the Damned, read Like A Puppet by Jon Olson.

Where angst and horror flow freely…

Follow Pen of the Damned on Twitter @penofthedamned And like us on Facebook

Pen of the Damned is a collection of dark tales told by those who freely dive into the maw of damnation and live to tell their stories. Every Tuesday a new story is posted to the site by one of its handful of eclectic writers. And once or twice a cycle, the members write their interpretation of a photo prompt as a group post. The stories are short and not so sweet, with a lingering aftertaste of terror.

If you haven’t checked out the site I dare you to take a look into the pitch black, if only to see if you can find the light again.

www.penofthedamned.com

Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Ela Lourenco @ElaLourenco @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The True Tale of Goldilocks
by Ela Lourenco

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


The True Tale of Goldilocks
by Ela Lourenco

Goldilocks, of creamy skin and flaxen hair
Goldilocks, young girl, so innocent and fair
Stumbled upon an empty cottage in the forest
Hungry and tired, stopped a while to rest.
Dust covered furniture, mouldy and rotten
In this desolate place time had forgotten
Ignoring common sense, she laid down to rest
Knowing not she was in the nest
Of creatures of the night – the ones from nightmares
Putrid ghouls – to catch unawares
and feast upon the purest souls
That would be their only goal.
To roam the Earth sight unseen
To find innocent essence for their queen
In this tale, there are no three bears
No porridge, mis-sized beds or chairs
She did not escape, well fed and rested
For as she slept, her spirit was infested
With fear and hatred and blood lust…

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Lori R. Lopez @LoriRLopez @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Breakfast
by Lori R. Lopez

In a desert kingdom where most were poor
A tramp arrived at a gate lugging a bag of tricks
“Permit me to amuse as I travel door to door,
My wit much sharper than a thousand pinpricks!”
No sooner had he entered, the spry Jester leapt
On the shoulders of a guard, as if riding a steed
With an agile somersault would he intercept
A lance-thrust by another, transformed to a reed
Cartwheeling, he unraveled colorful sashes
Traded turbans and tangled each oaf with a band
The visitor pinched noses and tugged mustaches
Swapping purses of coins for pouches of sand
Filching scimitars and daggers, he cleverly juggled
Then bowed at applause, leaving soldiers red-faced
Next he dropped their possessions and huggle-muggled
Skipping and hopping while these mad men chased
The Joker through a market — outfoxed to stumble

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Selah Janel @SelahJanel @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

Little Nightmare
by Selah Janel

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Little Nightmare
by Selah Janel

She was to be sent to the outside world. There was no escaping it, no argument to be listened to. Many had gone before her and now it was her time.
Still, she couldn’t help but ask “Mightn’t I stay with you, Mother? After all, I am small-“
“Better to sow fear, little nightmare,” She replied. There was no title, no proper name. Human terror of her had long ago stripped her of such pleasantries, and the million paranoias she birthed to petrify them with only knew her as mother. She allowed herself a quiet smile that hid razor teeth, just as gentle eyes hid black intentions and horrific thoughts. “Better to lure the unsuspecting in their dreams and pummel their souls until they are ripe for the feasting.”
“But-“
“You’ve had your lessons. You’ve sat at my…

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A Kick in the Bucket List – Brent Abell

Today on my blog, I’m hosting a piece by Brent Abell in support of his blog tour about his new novel, The Calling. Here he’ll talk about what he calls his ‘writing bucket list’. We all know what a bucket list is. But when you’re a writer, everything revolves around your work, even the things you wish to achieve before you kick the bucket.

A Kick in the Bucket List

Brent Abell

I’m sure everybody out there has a bucket list. You know, the list of all the things you want to do before you die. Some people want to skydive. Some want to travel to new exciting tropical locations. Others want to go off and spend their kid’s inheritance on a week-long shopping bender.

Yeah, all of that sounds fun, but I’d rather finish off my writing bucket list.

When I started out, I sat down and thought long and hard about I wanted to accomplish with my writing. I had certain goals and other projects I wanted to complete before I bought the farm and took a dirt nap. So, here is my list. Overall, I haven’t done too badly and I hope to wrap some more up real soon.

  1. Get published. This one is a no-brainer. When you sit down and write those first words to a story, of course you want to be published. I’ve hit this marker numerous times and I hope to keep ticking this item off over and over again.
  2. Finish a novel. I began focusing only on short stories. At the time, I believed you had to earn your way up by starting small and building to longer works. I also partially did this to grow into novel writing. After a bunch of shorts and a novella, I wrote the first novel. Check.
  3. Be featured in a magazine. This is one I’m only halfway through. Yes, I’ve been featured in a few eZines, but I still want to have a print magazine appearance. Once I have a print magazine in hand, I’ll check this one off.
  4. Scripting a comic book. I am a huge comic guy and I really want to do this. When it comes to what I’d script, I’d go for either an adaptation of one of my stories or I’d like to do something original.
  5. I want to write a screenplay. This has a lead and I’m starting to adapt something for submission to a production company. I write with the movie of the story playing in my head anyway. This is a goal because I’m wanting to have an IMDb entry. It sounds shallow, but it’s really not.
  6. Continue to meet fans when I go to conventions and have readings. I started out early on this one. Even before I thought about a bucket list, I’d checked this one off. The first story I wrote, I read at a small conventions’s open mike and it set me on this path. It helped having one of my idols enjoy the reading. Now, I love marking this one when I go to a con and meet someone who loves the books. I write what I like and if other people like it, it’s icing on the cake.

I’ve met a lot of people and shared a lot of laughs on this journey. Writing has been fulfilling as both an escape and as an outlet to let the demons free. I count myself lucky to have readers enjoy my work and I hope the items on the bucket list, as I check them off, will give them new ways to enjoy the dark trips into my brain.

Read below for information about Brent Abell’s new novel, The Calling and to find out a little about Brent himself.

 

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The CallingBrent Abell

Carl Volker has a problem. After waking one morning with a hangover to find his wife gone, he notices a crow stalking around his yard.  As days go by with no word from his wife, more and more crows gather.

Frank Hill is sheriff in the seemingly pleasant town of White Creek. Up until recently, his job has been fairly mundane but after a recent spree of murders, bodies are beginning to pile up and Frank has no clue as to who the killer may be.

White Creek has kept its secrets hidden well over the years but the sins of its past are coming to light; the town harbors an evil and the bindings that keep it in check are beginning to unravel.

As Frank and Carl’s friendship is tested and their destinies are revealed, the dead accumulate while the crows watch and The Calling begins!

Available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | Brazil| India | The Netherlands

Amazon Print: US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | Brazil| India | The Netherlands

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Smashwords

CreateSpace (Print)

BrentAbellPic

Brent Abell lives in Southern Indiana with his wife, sons, and a pug who sits around eating the souls of wayward people. His stories have been featured in over 30 publications from multiple presses. His work includes his novella In Memoriam, collection Wicked Tales for Wicked People, and novel Southern Devils; which are available now. He also co-authored the horror-comedy Hellmouth series. Currently, he is working on the second book in the Southern Devils series and the next book with Frank Hill in the White Creek Saga.

Facebook: Brent T. Abell

Twitter: @BrentTAbell

Blog: https://brentabell.wordpress.com/

 

Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author E.A. Black @ElizabethABlack @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

Spirit Journey
by E.A. Black

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Spirit Journey
by E.A. Black

The chief of the Mitsogo tribe handed a ceremonial mug filled with iboga root to Dr. Ambrose Peters, who choked down the bitter concoction and waited. Followers of the Bwiti religion which he studied required he go on a spirit journey. What would his totem animal be? An eagle? A python? He had hoped for something majestic to match his ego. Neither a squirrel nor a dung beetle would do. No, his animal must be big, proud, and strong. Like him.
His journey began with the sound of buzzing followed by intense dizziness. In moments he found himself moving quickly through the Gabon jungle. What was he? A quick glance down revealed broad tan paws. A rushing sound guided him to a river where he looked into the water.
An intense feline face surrounded by a bushy mane of…

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