Search This Blog


Monday, March 16, 2015

Review and Mashup: Delta Rae

Like lots of people, I first heard Delta Rae on the a capella TV show The Sing-Off. But it wasn't until I heard their first single "Bottom Of The River" that I truly became a fan. The song and video were so intense and dramatic and well done that I couldn't wait to hear more like it. But I had to wait, since we have bad internet connection where we live. Honestly it's a miracle I'm even able to blog as much as I do (which isn't much, so that's saying something).

Finally, (and coincidentally on the same weekend that their concert on AXS premiered), I was able to hear some of their other songs online, and although I loved their a capella stuff, I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of their songs involved beautiful, intricate, and unique instrumentation as well. And when I watched their AXS concert on TV shortly after, I was even more thrilled to see that they actually played their own instruments (a feat that is sadly not seen enough anymore), and that they had such great energy onstage too. I would have loved to have been there live. If you get a chance to see them on tour, I recommend it.

I fell in love with a bunch of their music, especially the songs that reminded me of my own novels as well as my husband's, and when I heard their song "I Will Never Die" (which reminds me of BOTH our novels), it quickly became my new favorite. And I quickly noticed that the vibe and lyrics both seemed to go well with "Bottom Of The River" so I decided to try mixing the two songs together. Turns out, they go together perfectly. I feel like this mash-up takes all the intensity of both songs and just amplifies it. Hopefully you will like it too. And I really hope I got the right lyrics. So many sites butcher lyrics these days, so fingers crossed ;) Anyway, let me know what you think! And be sure to check out their EP "Chasing Twisters" as well as their debut album "Carry The Fire". Some truly amazing music on both. For tour dates and much more, visit their website HERE, and check out the killer teaser for yet another new album from the phenomenal band (coming in April 2015) HERE.

Delta Rae is a force to be reckoned with. Their electrifying energy, their powerful voices and musical talent, and their creativity in using some really unique and awesome instruments, all make these kids stand out as nothing like we've ever seen or heard before, and likely never will again. Some say the band's vivacious lead singer Brittany is a witch. Whether that's true or not, listening to their music definitely does make you feel like you're under a spell, and the more you listen, the more you want. And there's no denying the themes of witchcraft in some of their songs, including the two I mixed together (so of course it's no wonder they remind me of my husband's books). But whether witchcraft is involved or not, I'm perfectly happy to be under their spell. :)

 And now I give you my
Delta Rae mash-up:

Let me know what you think in the comments below! And please subscribe here and on Youtube if you like it (after subscribing to their Youtube, of course) ;)

Be The Lightning,
Kylie Jude.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Review: The 100

So I was going to wait until I had a music video to share, but I decided to go ahead and post a blog on The 100, after that awesome season finale. Mostly because I had too many words in me to post on social media. Regulars might be shocked at how short this one is compared to my typical blogs, but I just wanted to get some of my thoughts out, so I jotted them down here. Enjoy! 

When I saw the very first episode of The 100, I think I probably cried the whole time. Not because it was sad but because it was so beautiful. It was everything I had ever wanted in a series. But as much as I loved the show then, I love it even more now. How is that even possible? Especially now that the characters have left the ark (AKA spaceship) and taken up residence on post-apocalyptic Earth. As a science fiction writer and fan, one would expect the lack of space in season 2 to deter me, but surprisingly, it didn't. While the show lost some of its science fiction elements in season 2, it also gained the grounders (a badass group of warriors) and some cool dynamics between them and the sky people (the ones who came from space). It also lost a character I never liked, which is always a plus. But I think the main reason season 2 was so great was the fact that we got to see the evolution of some of the characters into true warriors. You have to be tough to survive in the world of The 100, after all. 

One of the things I love most about the show is the character arcs. After the season 2 finale, we know Clarke is going to be even more badass next season, having retreated into the wilderness to become some kind of nomad loner. Not to mention poor Jasper, with the loss he suffered in this episode no doubt having lasting ramifications. And I can't believe the difference between Octavia in season 1 and Octavia in season 2. Totally different people. What it all boils down to? War changes people. And it's doing just that on the show. One of the recurring themes, as we heard again tonight from Clarke's mom, is that there are no good guys in war. Everyone has to sacrifice something (or someone) for the greater good. And as Maya said, none of us is innocent. This show has already proven that to be true time and time again, and there's just something so universal about it.

And of course I'm excited that the show will be returning to it science fiction roots next season, as the end of this episode revealed. But with or without the science fiction, The 100 has proven over and over that it is one of the best shows on TV.

I might still post a full fledged blog someday, music video and all, but in the mean time just know that The 100 is an amazing show, and if you aren't watching it, you should be. If you like drama and violence and romance and mystery, you'll like The 100. You might also want to check out the books if you haven't. But be warned that there are some major differences between the books and the show.

Until next season, may we meet again.

Be The Lightning,


Monday, March 9, 2015

The Walking Dead and Bethyl: Review and tribute video

Since its start back in 2010, The Walking Dead has become a worldwide sensation. & why not? It has all the terror & gore that comes with a zombie apocalypse, combined with believable & heart wrenching acting. My husband & I were excited about the show at first, but we lost interest during the second season, mostly because it started getting too repetitive - too much walking around & then finding a safe haven & then having to leave & walk around some more. While my husband (who is pretty much a real life Daryl Dixon) never regained interest in the show, I kept coming back to it. Something about it just kept pulling me back in. Maybe it's all the hype. Maybe I'm brainwashed. Who knows.

So after season 2 I started watching the show again, on & off, until "Bethyl" began to emerge from the ashes of armageddon. Then I was hooked. There had been other relationships on the show, but I was never really invested in any of them. This was something different. Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) was this hardened, stubborn, closed off warrior type, & Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) was the group's little glimmer of hope - sweet, kind, physically weak but inwardly strong. These 2 characters were polar opposites of each other, but it worked because each possessed qualities that the other needed. He made her want to be strong, & she made him want to "Be Good" (See what I did there? If not, you will) ;)

In the episode "Still" these dynamics were really fleshed out. The entire episode was devoted to these 2 characters exclusively, as they hid out in a little house alone together (besides a couple zombies, of course). This was the first episode that focused entirely on just one of the show's many story lines, & for us "Bethyl Shippers" it was a dream come true. No they didn't sleep together or even kiss, but they grew close in other ways. Better ways. Ways that transcended romance & cut straight to the soul. It is this episode that makes up about 95% of my video, & it turns out that the day I finished the video was also the one year anniversary of that episode airing. I had no idea, so while I had been unsure of whether to post the blog & video (mostly due to the fear of teasing from my husband), I took this cool little synchronicity as a sign & decided to go through with it.

I wanted to use actual footage in the video, but we live out in the sticks (pretty much one step up from the characters in the show), so I had to make due with pictures I found online. I used the song "Be Good" by Emily Kinney (who played Beth on the show) because the lyrics are so perfect for it. I almost feel like the song was written about the aforementioned episode. Not sure if that's true or not, but either way, I tried lining as many pictures up with the corresponding words as possible. I know fans of the show will notice the synchronicities, even if I'm not the first to point them out - I have no idea if I'm the first or not. Sticks, remember? ;)

I added some clips of Emily/Beth singing on the show (including, of course, a clip of her singing "Be Good" in the "Still" episode), & I also added some strings in the background & some clips from "Cups" by Anna Kendrick - That song nearly mimics Beth's words to Daryl in the aforementioned episode, & it's also in the same key, so I just had to stick it in there.

(Spoilers Ahead)

Those words "You're gonna miss me when I'm gone" couldn't ring more true now, both for Daryl & for the fans. In her final season, Beth was starting to become my favorite character. She was finally starting to break out of that "weak little girl" mold & starting to become a real badass. I soon found myself more excited about seeing her character progression & evolution into a warrior than about her reuniting with Daryl & the others. But for seemingly no reason at all (except maybe shock value) they killed her off. It made no sense. It's not just that it was sad, but in all honesty, it was just bad writing.

As a writer myself, I recognize an amazing story waiting to be told. Beth was a story. A GOOD story. She was in the middle of an inward & outward transformation that we never got to see fully realized. & I'm not the only one feeling this way. Fellow writers included, thousands took to social media with hashtags like #BethGreeneDeservedBetter. Because she did. & so did we. I originally planned to make my tribute much more dark & depressing & more about her death (& to an entirely different song too), but then I decided that "Still" is how I want to remember them. So I went for a slightly more uplifting & peaceful video. But that doesn't mean it doesn't still hurt. Because it does.

I know I'm a little late with my tribute, as most fans made theirs within a week after the heartbreaking episode, but I think this television tragedy affected me far too much. It took the entire time between seasons just to come to terms with the fact that this awful thing had happened for no logical reason. At this point I had pretty much decided to stop watching the show, but I told myself I'd at least wait to see the characters grieve before I completely stopped watching. The show returned with yet another heartbreaking episode, involving a death that again made absolutely no sense whatsoever, but I stuck it out until finally the grieving episode came. I've wandered back into apocalypse land since then, but as more of a curious spectator than a fan. I'm sorry but I can't be a fan of a show that makes not one but 2 stupid decisions back to back. Guess my husband was right. Why, oh why didn't I listen to my real life Daryl Dixon? Lesson learned ;)

BUT, if I had listened to him, I never would have made this video. Although I cried like a baby more than a few times, I actually enjoyed making this video & tinkering with the music. It's short & simple, but I hope you guys will like it. Let me know what you think, & if you made it this far, thanks for reading!

My tribute:

P.S. I made the last 2, but if anyone knows who did the other 2 frames of digital art featured in the video, please let me know. I'd love to credit them!

 Stay Frosty,
 Kylie Jude.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Interview With Zenobia Southcombe

It's been a while since I've interviewed anyone, so when Zenobia Southcombe asked for one, I jumped on it. Not just because it's been a while, but because Zenobia & I have something very special in common. We are Jills Of All Trades.
While most people are just writers, or just artists, or just musicians, we do it all. People like us were told when we were young that we could do anything we put our minds to, & somewhere deep inside we took that to mean we could do EVERYTHING we put our minds to. So, we do. Or at least we try to.
In Zenobia's case, it seems to be working. 

What IS her secret? & what is it that puts the fire in her veins? 

Find out now in my interview with her:

Kylie: Your book "What Stars Are Made Of" (which looks amazing) proves that a picture really IS worth 1,000 words. No words in the book? None at all? I'm impressed! How did you go about telling a story using only illustrations, & what gave you this brilliant idea?
Zenobia: I'd liked the idea of a wordless book since I “read” Shaun Tan's The Arrival so I guess the idea came from there. At that point in time, The Caretaker of Imagination was with my illustrator and its final beta readers and I needed a project to sink my teeth into.
Part of it was down to a stubborn streak, too - my writerly confidence could do with a boost and I really wanted to have something published by the end of the year.
In terms of telling the story, I did have to change the illustrations around a few times (I checked with some teacher-friends to see if the narrative was clear) and I added an extra couple in. I storyboarded the whole thing first and tried to use images and symbols that were simple and universal.

K: For me, music is an essential part of writing & illustrating. Do you use music to get the creative juices flowing? & if so, what bands or songs tend to be your go-to for inspiration?
Z: Yes, definitely! I noticed while drafting that I tend to listen to nineties music. Don't ask me why! Disney music does it for me while I'm brainstorming, and Robert Mile's track Children gets me focused no matter what. I swear it's magic. My all time favourites are the Beatles though (talk about creativity and imagination) and at the moment I'm going through a Paul Simon phase.

K: Being a fellow Jill Of All Trades, I know it can be extremely hard to stay focused & to not go crazy. What are some methods you use to stay on track when you've got so many different things going on at once? Do you schedule different projects for different times of the day? Do you make a list of everything you're working on? Do tell, because I MUST know your secret :)
Z: Ha! I don't have a secret - sorry! I do have a few strategies though, and it's probably easier to list them:
  • People! I find that surrounding myself with other creatives - people who get excited about the same things that I do - keep my energy up so I don't burnout before the end of a project.
  • Accountability - social media and blogging is great for this. If I'm sharing progress on a project, people become involved in the project as well, so if you don't pull through then you're letting them down as well.
  • I do have a yearly planner. I've actually just changed my schedule a bit, but it means I'm not trying to keep timelines in my head.
  • I also have a daily planner, where I write my to-do lists. I usually cross off 50-75% of the tasks, and the rest carry over to the next day.
  • …but I give myself days off as well. Every now and again I'll scratch a page out and that's my 'day off'. I usually end up doing some sort of work, but it's whatever I feel like doing at the time - not what I think I should be doing.
  • In terms of daily routine, I'm trying to build a morning walk in first, then I do my day-job prep work for up to an hour, and I'm left with four hours of writing work. I don't break this down further - it just depends on what project I'm working on at the time.

K: Most writers tend to worship coffee as the bringer of life (insert choir of angels here) but you prefer tea. What's your absolute favorite kind of tea?
Z: Aw no fair, I have to choose ONE? I'm going to be a rebel and choose two - one is Twining's New Zealand Earl Grey which uses mandarin instead of bergamot, and has a very subtle sweetness. The other is chai masala (literally 'spiced tea') which I make with Irish Breakfast or Assam tea and add black pepper, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and honey… yum!

K: I love chai too! Good stuff :) Speaking of favorites, out of all the visual art you've done, what is your favorite piece? & can you share it with us? Pretty please?
Z: What's up with the hard questions, Kylie!? My favourite is actually one I ended up throwing away! It was an antique-style map, and was a project I did during the school holidays when I was a teacher. The reason I loved it is that it got me back into painting after a LONG hiatus, and the reason I threw it away is the same - it became a big reminder of a person that I didn't want to become again.

K: Your next book "The Caretaker Of Imagination" looks like a fun read. & this one DOES have words, right? Other than that, how is this book different from your last one, & how did it come about?
Z: Yes, thousands of words in fact! It's definitely more commercial, as it sits in the MG Fantasy & Adventure genre well, whereas What Stars Are Made Of sits outside of customary genres. Having said that, The Caretaker is still a bit 'offbeat' - I mean, it's a kid's story with a grown-up protagonist, and it's got a cake-loving pirate. Not your stock standard fantasy.
There is similarity in the themes of both books though: the essence of What Stars Are Made Of  is about the beauty and creative light that is within all of us, and in many ways that is what the protagonist's journey is about in The Caretaker of Imagination as well.

K: I know you have another project up your sleeve (people like us always do). Can you divulge any information about what we can expect from you next?
Z: Well, there are two more (stand alone) books the The Caretaker series, which will hopefully be released in July & October this year. The second book, Lucy's Story: The End of the World is in its 4th round of revisions, and currently with my illustrator, Jane Thorne. The third book is being drafted as we speak!
There's also another project that I'm working as an illustrator on, and I haven't said a lot about this one yet. I do drawing sessions with my friend Anne, and she's an amazing story teller. My illustrator is working on a kid's book that she wrote years ago and we're going to publish that this year, and she has a wordless book (yay!) project for me to illustrate. It's called Animal Heaven and you'll hear more about this after The Caretaker is released!
AND I'm working on merchandise at the moment! Ain't no rest for the creative :)

Ain't that the truth! 

Thanks to Zenobia for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my (sometimes hard) questions! For more on this wonderful Jill Of All Trades, you can check out her website, & you can follow her on Twitter & Google+

Thanks for reading! 

Be The Lightning,