Inspiration: Sunset on Mars

Sunset on Mars

Sunset on Mars, as captured by the Mars Curiosity rover on April 15, 2015.

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Inspiration: Werewolf, Stalking

Werewolf, Stalking

Love this picture of what seems like a werewolf stalking through the woods, which was forwarded to me by Marty Wilsey (though he’s not the artist). It’s brutally simple, probably just a charcoal drawing. But it’s certainly effective. I’d use it as a book cover in a heartbeat, if I had a story that matched the picture.

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Inspiration: Titanic Dogs

The Dogs of the Titanic

One of the few existing photos of some of the dogs that were taken aboard the ill-fated Titanic by first-class passengers. The only pets that survived were a couple of small ones that passengers brought onto the lifeboats.

This was also the subject of a presentation that I’ve done, Titanic: The Forgotten Passengers, which is available on this site.

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Inspiration: Into the Blizzard

Inspiration: Into the Blizzard

What is this pair doing out in the middle of the blizzard? What are they hunting? Or is something hunting them?

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Inspiration: Grav Speeder on an Alien World

Grav Speeder on a Alien Planet

I love the colors and the sense of speed in this image of a futuristic vehicle, perhaps some sort of grav speeder, flying over an alien landscape at dizzying speed. Plus, it looks like it would be really cool to pilot one.

As a writer, can you imagine an aerial chase involving these things?

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Author Chow: Taco Bamba

Author Chow: Taco Bamba

Well, apparently I am (temporarily) a full-time author. The Day Job ended on Friday and the New Day Job has not yet officially started (due to paperwork, drug testing, bureaucracy, etc.). So this was my post-employment lunch at Taco Bamba, with their patented steak taco, a crispy shrimp taco, tortilla chips and four kinds of salsa.

It’s a fast casual dining place, with a few indoor tables, a few outdoor tables, a standing table, and a bunch of stools lining a ledge eating area. It’s casual, but it’s good food. They also have other things on the menu besides just tacos (although I’ve never actually gotten past the tacos, myself).

Did I mention they have four kinds of salsa?

Yes, indeed, my kind of place…

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Author Chow: Sirloin of Roast Beef

Scottish Wedding Dinner

This is the Scottish wedding dinner provided by my brother-in-law, Tommy Brady, and his lovely bride, Jacqueline Mckweown-Brady, at their wedding reception on June 30, 2018. Easily one of the best meals I’ve ever had in Scotland.

Prepared by the Normandy Hotel, this is their sirloin of roast beef with a sea salt and herb crust, accompanied by Yorkshire pudding, a rich roast gravy and a selection of vegetables and potatoes. It was preceded by an Atlantic prawn salad with a marie rose sauce. And followed by strawberry cheesecake.

Another interesting feature, the “Hangover Kit” in the upper left corner, composed of Iron Bru (a popular Scottish soft drink; the other national drink, apart from whiskey), chocolate, a satchel of Nescafe coffee and several little packets of tic tacs.

My Scottish relatives have done a splendid job of feeding their “hungry American”…a most excellent roast beef dinner. And a fitting accompaniment for a truly special day.

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Author Chow: Bangers and Mash

Bangers and Mash

If you want your favorite authors to keep pumping out those stories, they gotta be fed properly. That’s what these Author Chow entries are all about.

This is a meal called “bangers and mash” from the Rose & Crown Restaurant in Disney’s Epcot park in Florida. It’s basically English-style sausages with mashed potatoes and gravy.

This is actually an Americanized version of the dish. In Scotland, they put the sausages in a bowl with mashed potatoes on top. Then they cook the entrée until the mashed potatoes have been slightly browned on top. The next time I’m, in Scotland, I’ll post a picture of the true version of this dish.

This is also a meal that’s featured in my story, “Road Trip,” which was published in the anthology, Reliquary. When Rocco Fitch, a down and out military vet, and his irascible neighbor find themselves in London by magical means, Rocco insists that his friend try a local dish. That story, by the way, is being published as a standalone in September.

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Author Chow: Señor Ramon Taqueria

Author Chow: Señor Ramon Taqueria

Help feed all of the poor, starving authors out there in, well, wherever. Authors tend to be solitary critters, although they do gather in small herds (er, writing groups) sometimes. Still, somebody’s got to make sure they get fed, or the stories will dry up.

Here’s a meal from the newly opened Señor Ramone Taqueria in Chantilly, VA, featuring two deluxe tacos, accompanied by chips and salsa. On the left, the Ghost Taco, with Chicken Tinga, Cotija chess, shaved onions, sweet peppers, cilantro and ghost pepper cream. On the right, the Gado Taco, with skirt steak, caramelized onions, guacamole, jalepenos and Cotija cheese.

Good stuff. High recommended. Will definitely keep your favorite authors’ daily word count cranking along.

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Inspiration: Cat People

Cat People Dream Sequence

This is an image of a strangely moving, recurring dream sequence from Cat People, the 1982 romantic horror movie starring Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell. The movie is about shapeshifters, specifically dangerous, black leopards. Irena Gallier is a young woman who keeps having a recurring dream about black leopards, eventually leading her to the discovery that she’s a were-creature, a shapeshifter.

She eventually finds out that shifting in her species is triggered by sex. And that she’ll have to make a decision between the normal human that she’s fallen in love with and another member of her kind.

Note: (2018/03/03) I find it interesting that Marvel’s new hit film, Black Panther, includes a similar dream sequence featuring panthers in a tree. Used for slightly different effect, of course, but nevertheless remarkably close in aspect and impact.

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