Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

Fem-Fangs Halloween Sale

The uber-awesome folks at Pill Hill Press have decided to offer a special treat for you this October.

Fem-Fangs (An Anthology) (On Sale Through Halloween–Cover Price $19.99)
Edited by Ty Schwamberger & Jessy Marie Roberts
ISBN-13: 978-1617060229

Though people have been exploring the legend of the vampire for hundreds of years, the female vampire has been largely overlooked…until now.

Pill Hill Press proudly presents FEM-FANGS, a collection of short stories focused on fanged girls of the night with a taste for human blood and a penchant for power, seduction and terror.

Find your favorite turtleneck and sink your teeth into this monster of a collection. You’re in store for some long, dark nights filled with beautiful, hungry creatures. Don’t cry when you find yourself with two perfectly round puncture wounds on your neck…because you’ve been warned.

$15.99

(Psst! You’ll find my story, “Deidre’s Folly,” in it).

September 27, 2010 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Classic: Review – Flashpoint by Frank Creed

In a future where simply believing in the Bible makes you a “terrorist,” Dave and Jen Williams evades capture during a home-church bust. They seek help from the BoC Underground and take the codenames of Calamity Kid and e-girl. As they seek to rescue their family and friends they must deal with peacekeepers, gangers, One State Neros, and fallen angels.

The first in a series, Frank Creed has created a future that could easily come to pass if we, today, make the wrong choices here in the present. While an SF tale, some readers may view it as having a touch of Fantasy even though he provides enough scientific explanation for to be believable. Regardless of which genre you view it in, it’s still a good tale.

I dislike Biblical passages hitting me in the face on every page, like with what little I read in the Left Behind series. But not only does Creed make such references relevant to the tale, as well as in character and within the context of the story, he keeps it down to only a few and only where it matters. The street slang of the gangers comes off sounding cheesy, but anyone who’s ever heard real gangers talk will know that the cheesiness is true to the way gangers talk in real life.

Overall, Flashpoint is a well-written story with an entertaining plot, believable and sympathetic characters, and a moral that doesn’t get bashed against your head. While classified as Biblical or Christian speculative fiction, I highly recommend it to any lover of SF and Fantasy, regardless of your theological point of view.

And besides, e-girl and Calamity Kid are just plain cool.

Category: Biblical speculative fiction
Trade Paperback, 200 pages
ISBN: 978-1-934284-01-8
Publication Date: September 2007
Publisher: The Writers’ Cafe Press
Price: $9.95
http://www.thewriterscafe.com

[First published in 2007 in The Sword Review and Teen Age.]

September 27, 2010 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse: A Case of Art Inspiring Art – Final Fantasy Rap

While surfing YouTube I came across a rap song made by a two-member group called The Adventures of Duane and Brando. They create rap songs based on the story lines found in video games, the specific song below was inspired by the first Final Fantasy rpg video game. I have to say, I’m quite impressed. And this is a classic example of a fantasy story inspiring a song.

A word of warning, though. The lyrical content may not be suitable for children:

September 17, 2010 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Review: Epica – The Divine Conspiracy

When Epica came out and said their new CD would be the heaviest yet, they weren’t joking. The music is much heavier than before, and the sound darker. Trust me, you haven’t heard organ music until you’ve heard it done with the Metal attitude. And its not just the music that’s heavier, but the lyrics, also, are harder hitting and more unapologetic.

Like all their CDs The Divine Conspiracy resembles a musical score for a blockbuster film. The thirteen songs are divided into an instrumental prologue (“Indigo”) and three acts. Act One contains the songs, “The Obsessive Devotion,” “Menace of Vanity,” “Chasing the Dragon,” and “Never Enough.” Act Two continues “The Embrace That Smothers” mini-concept of which parts four through six were in their 2003 CD, The Phantom Agony. The middle part is the heaviest part in the entire CD with “La’petach Chatat Rovetz (The Last Embrace),” “Death of a Dream (The Embrace That Smothers – Part VII),” “Living a Lie ( – Part VIII),” and “Fools of Damnation ( – Part IX).” The final act slows down a bit with “Beyond Belief,” “Safeguard to Paradise,” and “Sancta Terra,” then ending the CD with a 14-minute explosion of symphony and metal titled “The Divine Conspiracy.”

Moreso than in the last CD, the beauty of Simone’s voice enhances the music. Indeed, her voice can make the most mediocre songs sound like masterpieces, and the lyrics are of a quality to match her singing. As an example from “Chasing the Dragon”:

“Let my eyes take in,
The beauty that’s here,
That’s left on this earth,
My ears long to hear,
A melody.”

The philosophy behind The Divine Conspiracy is based off an interesting “what if” scenario. What if all the religions came from God? What if he gave pieces of the truth to each race and culture as a test to see what they would do with such truths? Would they learn from each other, or would some use (and possibly pervert) the knowledge for the sake of personal power over others? And how, after centuries (or even millenia) of distortions can people seperate truth from half-truth and find the knowledge God gave us? An interesting theory and perhaps closer to the truth than most people, regardless of each’s religious views, may be willing to admit.

The only way to know is to just keep searching, each in the ways we know how while acknowledging our similarities, and accepting our differences as a part of what makes humanity such a wondrous creation.

[Review first written in Sept. 2007, but never published until today]

September 10, 2010 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SMM Classic: Interview with Victoria Mazze

(May 8, 2007)

The Divine Madness is a Goth Metal band in California that adds a Pink Floyd-ish feel to their music. I had the honor of interviewing their vocalist, Victoria Mazze (via e-mail like all my interviews). And before certain female readers of my blog make their remarks (you know who you are): I did behave myself! Honest! (Well, mostly…)

The Divine Madness has an “Alice in Wonderland” thing going on. How did you come up with that idea?

We’ve always loved fairytales but there was something about the white rabbit…for us, it is one’s imagination; as a child it is enormous and then through life you seek to recapture it, when you finally do, you see it for what it is, sweet, small, delicate, and something that you have to protect. That is how the idea for the video came about…

After watching the music video for “Closer”, I have to admit that I’ll never be able to think of the Queen of Hearts the same way ever again.

(laughing) Yes, we gave the Queen of Hearts a makeover. She became the nemesis; the alter-ego; bathing in a bath of ash, wilting flowers, and candles floating aimlessly. A tortured soul that takes her aggression out on imagination.

What makes your concert performances stand out?

Well, each show is different. Sometimes we perform with the whole band and then other times we just do an acoustic show. I think at the rock performances people really respond to how massive, full and seductive the band is; we have a lot of intensity and everyone in the band is a top notch performer. Some people have said that it reminds them of seeing No Doubt before they were famous. The acoustic show is great because it really gives me a chance to connect and really showcase the colors of each story and to hear the songs in a different way.

Have you heard of the Podsafe Music Network, and if so, have you thought about a couple songs on it?

Hell ya. It is great. We actually do have some music up there and podcasters regularly play our stuff.

What’s your favorite SF, Fantasy, and Horror books/movies? And have any of them influenced the band any (other than Alice in Wonderland obviously)?

We love anything with imagination that creates its own world; Anne Rice novels, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Guillermo Del Toro, Star Wars, Mary Shelley, Willow, Michael Crichton, Star Trek, Tim Burton, Bram Stoker, Alfred Hitchcock, Baz Luhrmann, Peter Chung, Pedro Almodovar, the list goes on.

What’s down the rabbit-hole in the near future?

Hehehe…wouldn’t you like to know! Well, I can only say that we will make the journey as gentle and painless as possible. We are working on our new album, another video and are also going to descend on Texas for a cable show TV appearance in Dallas and South-by-Southwest in Austin . After that, we’ll see what the future brings us.

September 6, 2010 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Emperor of Vangaard Casting Call

I need about a dozen VAs to do about three or four minor characters each, both male VAs and female VAs. The characters include amazons, soldiers, army commanders, and politicians to name a few. Each character has about one to four lines, with the possible exception of one or two of the characters. To audition, send an MP3 of the below lines, using a different voice for each (doesn’t have to be too different, after all Audacity can work wonders) to scottmsandridge AT gmail DOT com:

“Reform the line! Hold them back!”

“We must get the children to safety!”

“What did you just say?”

Include a few battle cries, grunts, screams, and deaths.

Alas, it’s non-paying, but you’ll get to be in a project that includes Phillippa Ballantine among other possible special guest stars. The deadline for the audition is September 30. After September 30 I will try to match you with the characters your voice best fits. The odds of getting in is good considering the amount of characters I need voiced (and possible VA background voices for several large battle scenes as well).

September 4, 2010 Posted by | News & Rants | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Review: The Exodus Gate by Stephen Zimmer

Nephilim, a One World Government, events of apocalyptic proportions. Just another “Christian End Times” fiction, you say? Well, not exactly.

In The Exodus Gate, Stephen Zimmer begins a seven-book epic (and secular) saga that combines the myths of Judeao-Christian, Babylonian/Sumerian, and Assyrian apocalyptic texts with an added dash of his own epic dark fantasy twist (and possibly an esoteric sprinkle or two of gnosticism), and weaves a tale that rivals The Lord of the Rings in its scope and The Stand in its characterization depth.

Being the first in the Rising Dawn Saga, this book’s primary purpose is to set up the overall world and introduce the large cast of characters (with the main character being Benedict Darwin), each with their own agendas and sometimes even secrets (I, personally, am already rooting for Erishkegal, but that’s just me). But there is still plenty of well-paced action and plot to keep you reading. The main downside I had was the sheer size of the book. It’s only half the size of The Stand, and I wanted More! Dammit! More!

Some readers might be put off by the size of the book, and if you don’t know it’s basically a large chapter in a grand sweeping saga then you also might feel lost near the end. But the characters will grow on you, especially the An-Ki–Zimmer’s unique take on the werewolf myth–loyal and honorable servants of Adonai.

Overall, it’s a fine start to what promises to be an awesome saga that will keep you reading for days (in between a nap or two, of course).

And besides, Erishkegal is awesome!

Best read while listening to: Epica, Megadeth, Enya, pretty much anything epic or mythological in sound.

September 4, 2010 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Time at Context 23 (Day 3)

(total Homer Simpson Moments from last Context 23 entry: 14)

Before I start I’d like to give a big shout-out to Ty Schwamberger, who has edited a Pill Hill Press anthology titled Fem Fangs in which I have a story in. It’ll be out September 20th.

And here’s the sexy cover:

*Ahem!* I think I’m gonna’ need a bucket of ice after that….

Well anywho, at 10am I checked out Writer and Illustrator: A Match Made In Heaven?! with Elisabeth Massie and Cortney Skinner. I think I fell asleep in the audience.

Hey, you try staying cognizant with only two hours of sleep.

At 11:30am I began my first of the two back-to-back panels for the day, Workshops – Set up, Teaching, Attending, with Diana Botsford, Michael Knost, and Mark Tiedemann. That one ran flawlessly, and I think I might’ve impressed a couple people. Perhaps I should do panels with only two hours of sleep more often.

Then at 1pm, in the same room, was my other panel, which I had to moderate, Response to Rejection: A Writers Response, with Rosemary Laurey, Kevin Lucia, Nayad Monroe, Joseph P. Martino, Liz Coley, and Michael West. We all rocked that panel, and I didn’t do a bad job moderating for once.

All-in-all, an awesome weekend. And I managed to go through at least one day without a Homer Simpson Moment…

Except for the minor blunder of going to the bus stop on the wrong side of the street.

Homer Simpson Moments: 15

Oh, and Martino has a nonfiction book out that you might want to get and read – and soon!

September 2, 2010 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , | Leave a comment

My Time at Context 23 (Day 2)

(total Homer Simpson Moments from last Context 23 entry: 10)

At 10am I went to Stephen Zimmer‘s Kaffeeklatsch where me and a couple other people got to hang out with him and chat for an hour. There was a lot of coffee to drink, too, which was a good thing since I was still trying to get rid of my migraine from last night. For once, I actually managed to avoid any Homer Simpson Moments.

11:30am was the Mass Autograph Session, and I actually got to sell and autograph two anthos! WooHoo!

What anthos did I bring, you ask? Well….

The Best of Every Day Fiction 2008

Chimeraworld #6 (New World Disorder)

The Four Horsemen: An Anthology of Conquest, War, Famine, and Death

and Silver Moon, Bloody Bullets: An Anthology of Werewolf Tails

When I got back home, I discovered something really cool about that event. I knew parts of it was getting filmed, but I had no idea I was in it:

I’m on YouTube! Yayyy!

But apparantly I forgot to comb my hair, what little I have.

Homer Simpson Moments: 11

At 1pm I checked out the How Did I Get Here? panel and later got a chance to chat a bit with the awesome and uber-cool Maurice Broaddus. Then I spent the next five hours in the Game Roem playing the Battlestar Galactica boardgame with a couple of my fanly friends. Or is that friendly fans? Eh, we’ll just use the word, friends.

Alas, I sucked at that game. But I still had a lot of fun. 🙂

At 8:30 I was on my Christian Horror panel with Michael West, Jerry Gordon, and Michelle Pendergrass. That one ran smoothly. Probably because I wasn’t the moderator.

After talking about Christianity and Horror, I skipped the 10pm panels and went straight to the Shroud party.

I drank a can of beer, then a second can somehow appeared in my hand, and then a third….

And then I remembered I’m allergic to yeast.

Homer Simpson Moments: 12

After counting Gina Ranalli’s crunches until 3am, I decided to go crash….

And realized I still hadn’t asked anyone about crashing in their room.

Homer Simpson Moments: 13

Later I discovered that pretending to read at the foyer while catching some shuteye doesn’t work if you’re prone to snoring.

Homer Simpson Moments: 14

I wonder if God was angry with me or something…..

September 2, 2010 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , | Leave a comment

My Time at Context 23 (Day One)

(total Homer Simpson Moments tally from last Context 23 entry: 2)

I head to the inn immediately after work with a pair of pants a size too big. And wouldn’t you know it? I lost my belt.

Homer Simpson Moments: 3

My niece’s fiancee drops me off. I get out and the first two people I see are D. Harlan Wilson and his cutie cousin (See? I can do alliteration!), Emily. I start to light up a cigarette only to discover that when my niece’s fiancee borrowed my lighter, I forgot to get it back.

Homer Simpson Moments: 4 (and the convention still hasn’t started yet).

Oh yeah. I also forgot my trusty watch.

Homer Simpson Moments: 5

We all talked for a while about writing, the upcoming panels, and various random stuff, and others showed up and joined in on the conversation. At 5:30pm I did my first panel, Humor in Literature. Wilson put out some very good points on that panel and I utilized my usual Gemini charm, even allowing my  Evil Twin to come to the surface for brief periods (hey, I have to let Evil Twin have a little fun every now and then; otherwise, he gets into one of his moods and I get writer’s block, and we can’t have that, now can we?).

I was free to wander around aimlessly until near the end of the night. At 7:00pm my aimless wnadering took me to The End of “Climategate” hosted by Gordon Aubrecht. There, I learned a few things about the scientific method that I hadn’t been aware of, even though I actually should have been aware of since I’m a bit of a science fan.

Homer Simpson Moments: 6

I wandered around some more, talked to a few people, then caught the last half of 8pm’s Motivation for Writers with Tim Waggoner, JD Williams, Elizabeth Massie, Linda Robertson, Laura Bickle, and Jo Lynne Valerie. Alas, I only heard half of what was being discussed because I was too fixated on the uber-hotness of the female panelists. Looks like I need a new Moments category.

I’m Too Damn Male Moments: 1

However, I did remember that I promised to get one of Laura’s books back when we met at MARcon, and since she and I were both on the next panel in the same room as the Motivation for Writers panel, I figured I’d run to the Dealer’s Room, buy Embers, and run back to have her sign it. Unfortunately, I forgot that the Dealer’s Room closed at 9.

Homer Simpson Moments: 7

Luckily, Laura had an extra copy on hand, decided to give it to me to review for my SpecMusicMuse entries, and even signed it for me. 🙂

So, anywho, my 10pm panel, Stupid Villains, Smart Villians, started. I had the pleasure of sitting among Bickle, Steven L. Shrewbury, and the awesome Michael West. This was the first panel at Context that I had to moderate. Remember the last entry where I told you I ended up being completely unprepared? Um, yeah….

So, without getting into too much detail:

Homer Simpson Moments: 8

Well, the panels were over, but the night was still young, so the fine folks at Shroud Publishing decided to throw a pre-party party with open readings. They wisely decided to do the readings at the start while people weren’t yet too intoxicated. they even allowed me to do a reading. 🙂

However, there was a bit of a time limit to allow more than just a couple readers to be able to read, and I picked a story that was too big for the time limit. Fortunately, I reached a section break in the tale just before the time limit expired. But still, I guess I have to count that as:

Homer Simpson Moments: 9

Most who know me already know that I almost never pay for hotel rooms because (a) I rarely find enough people I know who are going to the same place and thus share the bill with and (b) there’s no way in Hell I can possible afford the rates, especially after being unemployed for seven months straight. In places like MARcon, there’s always the good ‘ole all-night theater to go to. At Context, however, if you can’t find someone who’ll let you crash, then you’re stuck doing the catnap-while-avoiding-security-shuffle for the rest of the night if you have no way to get back home.

Usually, you can find someone who’ll let you crash, unfortunately (and I’ll go ahead and blame this on the rum) I forgot to ask anyone. However, I did learn a valuable lesson: toilet seats are not comfortable things to sleep on.

Homer Simpson Moments: 10 (and this was just the first day)

September 1, 2010 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , | Leave a comment