Category Archives: music

Guest Post: Jessica B. Bell

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Music to Write Horror By

Jessica B. Bell

When I write, I always have music playing, sometimes just ambient instrumental music – Brian Eno has several great soundscape albums that are great – but often I want a certain mood to write by. When I was writing a lot of the stories in Viscera I would often have these on in the background.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – F#A#(Infinity) : This is an album by a Canadian band known for its long, experimental soundscapes, combining live music with soundbytes and spoken word. It’s dark and atmospheric, and is my go to when writing. If you’ve seen the brilliant film 28 Days Later, you may recognize their song East Hastings/Dead Flag Blues. It has a spoken word piece at the beginning of the song about being trapped in the belly of a machine that is bleeding to death that gives me chills:

King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King:  Someone once said that this music was the sound of the apocalypse, and they might be right. The title track has been used in the dystopian film Children of Men and is instantly recognizable. If I’m ever writing something with some sort of demon or elder god in it, this is the record I put on. It’s grand and cinematic, and if you’re going to be writing something bleak, this is the track you want to be listening to.

Tom Waits – Mule Variations:  When I was writing CHUK – a novel set in the Louisiana bayou – this was on my turntable nearly constantly. It’s a great album altogether, but Low Side of the Road could be the theme song for the HBO adaption of CHUK (it’ll happen, you’ll see). There’s just something about Tom Waits’ gravelly voice and Kurt Weill-esque musical sensibilities that make his music excellent for creepy writing.

Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral: Nobody does anger quite so eloquently as Trent Reznor, and if you are writing something intended to make the skin crawl – or if you’re just writing something bloody violent and angry, then you want to throw on this album, beginning to end. The industrial noises in the song Reptile sound like Godspeed’s horrible machine, bleeding to death. If they ever made a film out of my story Paraxenogenesis, this would be the soundtrack.

Sigur Rós – Ágætis Byrjun: I have no idea what this Icelandic band is singing about , but it is dark and lovely. It’s actually very soothing, and puts me in a mood to write. There’s a short story in Viscera – my new collection of strange tales, published by Sirens Call Publications (and available now) called The Queen is Dead that could definitely be read with Sigur Rós playing in the background.

Finally, Pink Floyd’s near-instrumental Careful With That Axe, Eugene was the inspiration for the story Banshee (also in Viscera). The song just sounds like a chase across barren, icy tundra. Listen to this song before (or while) you read the story, and I think you’ll see what I mean.

What music do you listen to while writing? Is it just your personal favourites, or does the music you listen to influence your writing, and if so, in what way?

jessicabbell

Jessica B. Bell is a Canadian writer of strange fiction. It is rumoured that she lives in a damp, dark basement, writing her twisted tales in her own blood on faded yellow parchment. Her stories have been published in various anthologies, the most recent of which is Voices. She also writes under the name Helena Hann-Basquiat, and has published two novels on the metafictional topic of Jessica B. Bell, titled Jessica and Singularity. A third and final novel is planned for 2017.

Find more of Jessica’s (and Helena’s) writing at whoisjessica.com

Viscera — Jessica B. Bell

Viscera is a collection of short stories full of all the things that make you squirm, cringe, and laugh when you know you shouldn’t. You’ll remember why you’re afraid of the dark and experience an abundance of weird creatures: witches, ancient gods, and all-too-human monsters – the scariest of all.

Indulge your twisted sense of humor with stories about unconventional werewolves and a woman with a frog fetish. Know what it’s like to arrive too late to save an unusual alien abductee, or giggle with sick delight as a woman serves up a special Hasenpfeffer dinner to her pig of a husband.

Settle in for bedtime stories fit for monsters.

Viscera will grab you by the gut and squeeze, making you cry for mercy—or laugh like a fiend!

Available on:

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August Is MandoWriMo – Catchy, Right?

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I’ve been having loads of fun these past months, going to horror conventions and running the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour right after doing Authors Supporting Our Troops, and doing a month of promotion for my latest release, Dying Days 4… but now it’s time to get serious again… the actual goal each day, each week and each month is to write. Right?

I have quite a few projects I’m working on right now (I’ll list them below so you get an idea of the crunch) and need to get back on track. To that end, I’ve decided to unofficially do an August NaNoWriMo of 50k in the month, although mine will be 60k and I must do it. No excuses. No days off and hitting 10k a week and being done with it. I need a true 14k a week, 60k in 31 days month. If I have to do a 24 Hour Writing Marathon to catch up or get ahead, so be it. I call it MandoWriMo. Because I have an ego, I guess…  the extra day gives me only one shot to slack, too. 

To this end I’m not going to be on Facebook much, except to promote other authors with guest posts on my page (but those are sent to me pretty much completed, so no big deal) and do some basic promotion to keep me out there. If all goes according to plan, I should have a couple of anthologies I’m in to promote as well such as the first two State of Horror ones from Charon Coin Press, so looking forward to that. 

I’ll still be doing my Mando’s Manic Melodies show on 97.3 FM http://www.flaglerbeachradio.com on Friday nights from 10 til midnight EST, but expect quite a few to be pre-recorded. For August I’ll put my Monday night show, Mando’s Metal Covers, on hold and see where I stand in September. My main focus (besides writing) will still be Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast. New episodes every Friday. I’m having fun with it so far. 

Now, onto my list… as I’ve been doing for years, this is more for me than the readers of this blog. I hope you’ll follow along and see how I do, but for me it just gives it another place where I can get called out on if I slack off. 

1. Movie Adaptation (30k) – 10k done but I only get to see the dailies of the actual filmed movie every few days, so this one is taking forever. A new experience in how to write for me, too.

2. Children of The Grave anthology (10k) – I really need to get my head around my story so I can actually write it. This has been due so need to make it a priority

3. Change Jar Books Part 3,4 and 5 (15k) – 2k done so far, really behind. I need to tackle these this month and get closer to finishing the Flagler Beach Fiction Series

4. Necromance 5 (5k) – 3k left to write. I know the story, just need to sit down and finish it. 

5. Dying Days: Origins 2 (25k) – 16k left to write. Looking for a November release, so I need to get moving on this first draft.

That gives me 62k right there… I can do it if I get focused, right? 

Wish me luck… and if I’m ignoring you on Facebook I have a really good reason. Or I’m using it as an excuse to ignore you. Either way… 

Armand

Radio Gigs, Podcasts and Hot Dog Flavored Potato Chips

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I’m once again moving on up, to a deluxe apartment in the sky… OK, maybe that’s the wrong opening line.

When I first started back in June on 1700 AM The Surf it was truly a dream come true. Not only did I get to talk writing and publishing with two co-hosts (which then became one co-host), but I got to broadcast a music show live with all the killer tunes I grew up on and love.

1700 AM in Flagler Beach is morphing into 97.3 FM very soon, and I’m excited to be a part of it. Station owner Vern Shank has some really great plans for the station and you’ll still be hearing me on the air on Friday nights. But in a slightly different format…

I had a sit-down with Vern yesterday about my role at 97.3 FM and how I could stay on while balancing my writing career/movie writing career/radio gigs/personal life without too much fuss. Vern also tricked me into eating a hot dog flavored potato chip, which tasted like mustard and ketchup. I hate condiments. I still have the horrible taste in my mouth.

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Mando’s Manic Melodies will still air in the 10 pm til midnight EST slot, but most shows won’t be live anymore. I recently purchased a podcast kit, which will be perfect for recording hours of the show. I’ll also be tightening the format up a bit to include a block of cover songs, a theme block as well as a Mandatory Stryper or Mandatory Steel Panther song. Other than that it will be whatever I decide to play, as usual. Whenever I get the chance to drive down to Flagler Beach I will, and do a live show with any requests you might have.

You might now be asking yourself two questions… first, why did Vern force you to eat that disgusting potato chip? and second… what about Friday Night Writes?

I will be stepping down from FNW and handing everything over to Tim Baker. The last couple of weeks he’s filled it with temporary music and I’m sure he’ll have something fresh and new planned for the 8-10 pm EST Friday night time slot. With everything going on for me right now, there is no way to commit to driving down to the station (I now live almost 75 minutes away – one way) and not getting home until 1:30 in the morning and killing my Saturday writing time because I need to sleep. I didn’t want to string The Surf, Vern or Tim along anymore, but I will miss the show. I had a lot of fun doing it.

So much fun, in fact, that at some point in the near future, I will be returning to a show about authors and publishing, but on my own time. Because I bought all this fancy podcast equipment, I’ve also decided to do my own podcast from home. I don’t have a name for it (but will take suggestions!) and I can tell you it will be a one hour format dealing with the same basic issues FNW dealt with, but I’ll have a different guest host each week talking about writing and publishing. I’m excited to still be able to talk about writing, and the shows will be in as many places as I can get them and archived as well.

Is that it for me? Nope.

I’m also excited to announce I will also be doing another music show each and every week, this time on Monday nights from 6-8 pm EST on Metal Messiah Radio! The show, Mando’s Metal Covers, will play harder songs and nothing but covers… and it will be broadcast live each week, so I will be creating a FB group so people can chat with me in real time and request some brutal Metal covers. I’m excited to be getting yet another opportunity to play music live, and doing it from the comfort of my own office. More details will be coming, but my first show will be live on Monday, May 5th. 

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Anything else? Other than still being mad at Vern for trying to kill me? 

Nah. But as always wish me luck!

Armand

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